BALTIMORE — Michael Brantley took care of the offense, and Cleveland’s bullpen did the rest.
Brantley homered and had four RBIs, and the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Monday night for their ninth win in 12 games.
Brantley put the Indians ahead with a two-run single in the sixth inning, and Cleveland’s relievers made the lead stand up by throwing 3⅔ innings of one-hit ball.
“Our bullpen was phenomenal,” manager Terry Francona said.
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Just for good measure, Brantley made it 5-2 with a two-run shot in the eighth off Darren O’Day. His four RBIs tied a career high, reached twice previously.
Nick Swisher had two hits and scored a run for the Indians, and former Oriole Mark Reynolds went 1-for-2 with two walks. The victory improved Cleveland’s record against the AL East to 7-17 and provided an uplifting start to an 11-game road trip.
Ubaldo Jimenez (6-4) allowed two runs in 5⅓ innings before Rich Hill, Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith combined for 2⅔ innings of hitless relief. Vinnie Pestano wrapped it up by working the ninth for his fourth save.
Hill came in with a 7.58 ERA, but retired all three batters he faced.
“When Rich Hill pitches like that, it complements our whole bullpen,” Francona said. “He’s thrown the ball pretty good the last few times out. Getting him on a roll will really help our bullpen.”
Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters homered for the Orioles, who have lost four straight.
Zach Britton (1-2) allowed only two hits through five innings and took a 2-0 lead into the sixth before faltering. He left before getting an out and with Baltimore trailing 3-2.
“Just elevated some balls, lost his command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I thought he pitched well for five innings but different stuff showed up there in the sixth.”
Jason Kipnis led off with a double and scored on a single by Swisher. Carlos Santana followed with a double to put runners at second and third, and after Reynolds received an intentional walk, Brantley grounded a single up the middle to chase Britton.
“Early in the game I was able to make pitches with guys on base, executing a little bit better,” Britton said. “I think I was trying to do too much after that leadoff double and things kind of escalated right there.”
Brantley understood why the Orioles walked Reynolds to get to him.
“Obviously, they were playing strategy,” he said. “Left-hander on the mound and I’m a left-handed hitter. I just wanted to make sure I did what I could for my team, get that run in from third. I was lucky to get a single up the middle.”
Brantley iced it in the eighth with his fifth homer after a leadoff single by Reynolds.
“The pitch was middle-inside, kind of down,” Brantley said. “I was able to get a good swing on it. I just stayed through it the best I could. At the time, it was a big swing, and the pitching staff ... came in and closed the door.”
After being swept in a three-game series in Toronto, the Orioles hoped a return to Camden Yards would reverse their slide. But their only offense came on two swings of the bat.
After Markakis put Baltimore up 1-0 in the first inning with his eighth home run, the Orioles left the bases loaded in the second and stranded two runners in the third.
Wieters led off the fourth with his 10th home run to end an 0-for-13 skid and make it 2-0.
- The Orioles optioned RHP Freddy Garcia to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for rookie Kevin Gausman, who was added to the bullpen. Garcia can refuse the assignment and become a free agent. Gausman is a candidate to start Friday against the Yankees.
- Francona said SS Asdrubal Cabrera (right quad strain) has been taking grounders and running the bases, and could soon be activated from the DL.
- Cleveland closer Chris Perez (rotator cuff) is expected to make another rehab appearance in the minors before the Indians consider activating him.
- Baltimore’s Ryan Flaherty had two hits and is 10 for 22 in his last six games.
- Kipnis has reached base in 26 straight games.
- Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy will see a specialist today because of lingering pain in his forearm.
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Baltimore
- TIME: 7:05
- WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
- PITCHERS: Masterson (9-5, 3.48 ERA) vs. Tillman (8-2, 3.71)
- TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM