BALTIMORE — T.J. House waited his entire life to start a game in the big leagues. When his chance finally arrived, the Cleveland Indians rookie had the misfortune of going up against one of the hottest-hitting teams in the major leagues.
House gave up five runs and 11 hits in six innings against the Baltimore Orioles, who got home runs from Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis in an 8-4 win Friday.
After pitching one inning in his big league debut last week, House was thrust into the strapped Cleveland rotation. He became the first left-hander to make his initial big league start with the Indians since David Huff on May 17, 2009.
Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, he went up against a team that has scored 38 runs on 62 hits in its last five games.
“He gave up a lot of hits,” manager Terry Francona said. “He paid for some of those mistakes. But saying all that, he kept his poise.”
Not only that, but House (0-1) enjoyed himself.
“It was fun,” he said. “Obviously, the results didn’t end the way I wanted them to, but I had a good time out there and next time I get the chance to do it I hope to be able to perform a little better.”
Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer for Cleveland, the 439th of his career, breaking a tie with Andre Dawson for 41st place on the all-time HR list. Prior to connecting, the 43-year-old Giambi was 1-for-15 with no homers and no RBIs this year.
The drive gave the Indians a 4-3 lead.
“I’ve been taking some good at-bats,” Giambi said. “I just wanted to try to put a ball in play there to get us a run. We had a runner on third, less than two outs, and just kind of keep the train moving. I just kind of got it up in the air a little bit and it went out of the ballpark.”
The margin didn’t hold up, and the Indians’ four-game winning streak ended.
Davis homered and had four RBIs, Adam Jones had three hits and scored three runs and Nick Markakis had four hits for the Orioles.
Davis hit a two-run double in the third inning and put Baltimore up 5-4 in the fifth with his seventh home run and fourth in four games. He led the majors with 53 homers last year, and while he’s not on that kind of pace, Davis appears to be heating up.
“I think I’m just putting together better at-bats,” he said.
Bud Norris (3-4) gave up four runs, six hits and three walks in six innings to earn his first win in four starts since May 1. It wasn’t his finest effort, but the run support certainly helped.
“These guys can swing,” Norris said. “They’re professional hitters. They’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Cruz put Baltimore up 1-0 with a shot to right-center in the second inning, and Davis doubled to right to make it 3-0 in the third.
Cleveland responded with a four-run fourth. After Lonnie Chisenhall doubled in a run, Carlos Santana walked and Giambi followed with an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats.
“At the time, it was huge,” Francona said. “It got us right back in the ballgame, put us ahead. That’s when you’re starting to feel like OK, here we go, we’ll find a way to win this one, too.”
But Davis followed an infield hit by Jones with a shot to right field in the fifth to put Baltimore ahead to stay.
The Orioles added three unearned runs in the seventh off Mark Lowe, whose throwing error on a potential double-play ball allowed a run to score and preceded an RBI groundout by J.J. Hardy and a run-scoring double by Delmon Young.
- Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera and 1B Nick Swisher did not start because of knee soreness, but both are expected to avoid the DL, Francona said. Cabrera’s MRI Friday morning came back negative.
- RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will start for the Orioles today against his former team. Jimenez played with the Indians before signing with Baltimore as a free agent during the offseason.
- Orioles 3B Manny Machado was given the day off after leaving in the 12th inning Thursday night with a sore right groin. Manager Buck Showalter termed the injury “the proverbial day-to-day” and said he expected Machado to avoid the 15-day disabled list.
- The Orioles recalled LHP T.J. McFarland from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned RHP Preston Guilmet to Norfolk.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Baltimore
TIME: 12:35 p.m.
WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
PITCHERS: Kluber (4-3, 3.43 ERA) vs. Jimenez (2-5, 4.50)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM