BALTIMORE — Alexi Casilla has had a hard enough time breaking into the Baltimore starting lineup, let alone being a home run threat.
But when Orioles Manager Buck Showalter selects his batting order, he will lean on matchups. And Showalter’s decision to start Casilla at second base over hot-hitting Ryan Flaherty on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians paid huge dividends.
Making just his fourth start this month, Casilla hit his first homer since August, a three-run shot off Cleveland ace Justin Masterson in the seventh inning to lead the Orioles to a 6-3 win over the Indians. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak.
Casilla has only 12 homers in eight big-league seasons, and his last one came 152 at-bats ago — against Masterson.
The Orioles, who lead the majors with 108 homers, hit two off Masterson (9-6) in the seventh. After Adam Jones was hit by a pitch to open the inning, Chris Davis tagged a first-pitch sinker deep to right for his major league-leading 28th homer of the season to tie the score at 3.
Chris Tillman (9-2) won his career-high sixth straight decision, recording his fourth quality start in his last five outings. Over the past calendar year, Tillman is 18-5. The right-hander’s six wins since May 24 are tied with Oakland’s Bartolo Colon for the most in the American League.
Tillman allowed three runs over seven innings, his only major mistake a two-run homer by Jason Kipnis in the fifth. Troy Patton pitched a scoreless eighth and Jim Johnson notched his 27th save.