BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles knew they were due. Their sputtering offense couldn’t continue to flounder. It was just a lull every team goes through during the dog days of summer, they told themselves.
And on Friday night, during the hottest day of the season so far — the game-time temperature at Camden Yards was 100 degrees — the Orioles’ bats finally started to heat up.
In the Orioles’ 9-8 win over the Indians, Baltimore’s offense showed a resilience not seen in nearly two weeks. Their nine runs Friday matched the team’s combined run total over the previous five games. It was also the most runs the Orioles have scored in 13 games since completing their three-game sweep of the Pirates on June 14.
“It’s a nice way to win a game because it just wasn’t ho-hum,” said catcher Matt Wieters, who hit a huge three-run homer in the sixth inning. “To be able to battle for that and see that if you get behind early you still have a chance to come back and win games, that something we haven’t been doing.”
In a game that included five lead changes, the Orioles (42-34) got the key hits when they needed them from across the lineup.
Rookie left fielder Xavier Avery hit his first career major league home run in the eighth inning — a solo shot to left in the eighth off Chris Perez that proved to be the winning run. It came after fellow rookie Ryan Flaherty’s two-out RBI single in the seventh against Cleveland reliever Joe Smith gave the Orioles an 8-7 lead in front of an announced crowd of 24,779 at Camden Yards.
But the biggest blow of the night — the one that seemed to put a much-needed charge in the Orioles’ beleaguered offense — was Wieters’s towering homer in the sixth that gave the Orioles a 7-5 lead.