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Twilight time in Bronx, no Cards speech in DC

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Twilight time in Bronx, no Cards speech in DC

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter was a bit confused by the unusual starting time for Game 5 of the AL division series.

Finishing off a pregame answer about leaving slugger Jim Thome out of his starting lineup for the all-or-nothing matchup against the New York Yankees, Showalter veered off topic.

``Is this a day or night game? What are we calling it? Twilight?'' Showalter asked.

Showalter said he asked the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Thome whether he ate breakfast or lunch before the 5:07 p.m. EDT start.

``He goes `both.' A dumb question.''

The Orioles also tried to alter batting practice to tailor it a little more to their liking. Perhaps tired of the constant stream of advertising and Yankees highlights that blare on the main video board when the visitors hit, they placed their own stereo system next to the batting cage.

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HOMERS ON HOLD: Alex Rodriguez wasn't the only slugger with over 600 homers to be kept out of the starting lineup for Game 5 between the Yankees and Orioles.

Jim Thome took a seat, too.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter chose to start light-hitting Lew Ford over the 612-homer man.

``It gives us some good options on the bench,'' Showalter said. ``Lew has done some good things for us.

Ford was hitting .256 and has two homers in 43 at-bats against Yankees starter CC Sabathia. He's also 2 for 5 with a double in the series while Thome is 1 for 12 with four strikeouts.

Thome missed almost seven weeks with a neck injury, returning Sept.. 21, and Showalter wants to protect the 42-year-old designated hitter.

``I have a little concern with Jimmy, try not to throw what he's gone through physically with his neck and back out the window,'' Showalter said. ``Trying not to overextend him some. But he's got a good at bat in him today at some point if we need it.

When asked what he thought about Rodriguez and his 647 career homers not starting, Thome said, ``I prefer not to talk about that situation.''

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THINKING AHEAD: Davey Johnson won the World Series as a player and a manager, but he went 15 years without a trip to the postseason until returning this October with the Washington Nationals.

So during all that time away, did he wonder about getting another chance to be a skipper in a win-or-go-home game?

``I never really thought about it,'' the Nationals' manager said before Game 5 of their NL division series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

He did, however, have something running through his mind while watching baseball playoff games on TV in the decade and a half since he took the Baltimore Orioles to the 1997 postseason.

``I'd think, `Oh, I can imagine the question he's going to get from the writers after that game. I'm glad it's him and not me,''' Johnson said with a smile.

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NO SPEECH HERE: After a dramatic victory in Game 4 of their NL division series to extend their season, some Washington Nationals pointed to a rousing pregame speech quoting President Teddy Roosevelt delivered by veteran Mark DeRosa, who isn't even on the playoff roster.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before Game 5 on Friday night that he didn't feel the need to come up with any special sort of motivational words to help his players rebound from losing 2-1 on Jayson Werth's game-ending homer in the bottom of the ninth inning a day earlier.

``As far as a Knute Rockne deal, that's not what this club does,'' Matheny said. ``This club shows up to play baseball every day. Now there have been times through the season where it's been needed, but today is not one of those times.''

The first-year manager, who replaced the retired Tony La Russa after St. Louis won the 2011 World Series, continued: ``These guys played a good, hard baseball game yesterday. We ended up on the short end of it, and it's not the first time it's happened to them, and they have responded well by just coming back and playing the game.''

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

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USA TODAY Sports

Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."

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Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.

WELL RESTED

Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.

UP NEXT

Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.

RELATED: WHERE DO THE O'S FALL IN MLB STANDINGS?

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.