Series: Game 1 of 3

Baltimore leads 1-0 (as of 9/2)

Game 1: Monday, September 2
Game 2: Tuesday, September 3
Game 3: Wednesday, September 4

Orioles 7

(73-63, 35-34 away)

Indians 2

(72-65, 40-27 home)

    Coverage:  STOH

    4:05 PM ET, September 2, 2013

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    BAL 030200002 7 11 0
    CLE 000000110 2 6 0

    W: B. Norris (10-10)

    L: J. Masterson (14-10)

    Orioles-Indians Preview


    While the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians both sit quite a ways back in their respective division races, they continue to keep pace in the highly competitive AL wild-card hunt.

    The Orioles try to distance themselves from the Indians when these teams open a pivotal three-game set Monday at Progressive Field.

    After dropping four of five to begin a nine-game trip, Baltimore salvaged Sunday's finale against the New York Yankees with a thrilling 7-3 victory. J.J. Hardy hit a go-ahead three-run homer and Adam Jones followed with a three-run shot of his own as the Orioles put together a seven-run seventh inning.

    "Hopefully, it jump-starts us in September," said Hardy, whose team remains 8 1/2 games behind East-leading Boston.

    Sunday's win, though, moved Baltimore (72-63) into third place in the wild-card standings, three games back of second-place Tampa Bay. The Indians (72-64), meanwhile, are in a fourth-place tie with New York, one-half game behind the Orioles.

    Cleveland returns home after concluding a 1-5 trek with Sunday's 4-0 win over Detroit. Mike Aviles provided all the offense with a ninth-inning grand slam as the Indians climbed within 7 1/2 games of the Central-leading Tigers.

    "We needed this game because we've had a tough road trip," said manager Terry Francona, whose team is 10-15 since Aug. 5. "We want to keep playing until they make us stop."

    The Indians will look for their momentum to carry over against Orioles starter Bud Norris (3-1, 4.91 ERA), who is 3-0 in six starts since he was acquired from Houston on July 31. After giving up a season high-tying seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 9-7 win over Oakland on Aug. 23, Norris yielded one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of Wednesday's 4-3 loss at Boston.

    "These guys scored some runs early to give me a little cushion, so my focus is putting up a zero on every scoreboard, every half inning," said Norris, who left with a 3-1 lead. "As long as I could go and, (manager) Buck (Showalter), he made the decision and I'm OK with it, handing the ball off to the bullpen. I feel confident doing that every time."

    Norris, set to make his first appearance versus Cleveland, posted a 2.20 ERA in three road starts last month.

    The Indians counter with Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.49), who has gone 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last two outings despite walking nine in 12 2/3 innings. The All-Star right-hander yielded two runs in six innings of Wednesday's 3-2 walkoff loss at Atlanta.

    "When our ace goes out and gives us strong innings, we've got to find a way to get a W," said Aviles, referring to Masterson.

    Masterson had a 2.30 ERA in winning four consecutive starts versus the Orioles before surrendering six runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-3 loss at Baltimore on June 25. While Jones, Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis are a combined 13 for 68 (.191) versus Masterson, Alexi Casilla is 6 for his last 14 with two homers, a double and a triple in their matchups.

    Hardy has hit safely in each of his 14 games in Cleveland, batting .310, but he's 2 for his last 9 against Masterson.

    Orioles outfielder Michael Morse, acquired from Seattle on Friday, went 2 for 4 with a run in his team debut.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakW2W10
    Last 104-610-0

    Pitching Matchup

    B. Norris
    10-12, 4.18 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/25 vs TOR
    4.0 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = ND
    J. Masterson
    14-10, 3.45 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/29 at MIN
    1.2 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    1. B. Roberts, DH M. Bourn, CF
    2. M. Machado, 3B N. Swisher, 1B
    3. C. Davis, 1B J. Kipnis, 2B
    4. A. Jones, CF C. Santana, C
    5. M. Wieters, C M. Brantley, LF
    6. N. Markakis, RF A. Cabrera, SS
    7. J. Hardy, SS J. Giambi, DH
    8. N. McLouth, LF L. Chisenhall, 3B
    9. A. Casilla, 2B D. Stubbs, RF

    Research Notes

    Justin Masterson has thrown his sinker on an MLB-high 71 percent of his pitches. Orioles hitters have slugged .532 in at-bats ending in a sinker, second best in the league.

    ESPN Stats & Information