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Orioles are one game shy of setting MLB record for consecutive games allowing five or more runs

Orioles are one game shy of setting MLB record for consecutive games allowing five or more runs

BALTIMORE -- The Cleveland Indians put on another offensive show against a Baltimore Orioles pitching staff that's poised to set a record for extended futility.

Austin Jackson had three hits and three RBIs, Erik Gonzalez homered and the Indians pounded out 13 hits in a 6-3 victory Thursday night.

The Indians won three of four from the Orioles to complete a 7-1 road trip that began with a four-game sweep of Minnesota. Cleveland has scored at least five runs and reached double figures in hits over nine consecutive games, and homered in 11 straight.

"It kind of starts at the top and it trickles its way down to the bottom, from the 1-hole hitter to the 9-hole hitter," Jackson said. "It seemed like everyone was having good at-bats."

Baltimore's struggling pitchers were overmatched against that kind of firepower. The Orioles were outscored 28-10 in the series and have given up at least five runs in 19 straight games, one short of the major-league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

Starter Wade Miley (3-5) gave up four runs in five-plus innings and Gonzalez hit a solo shot off Richard Bleier in the sixth to make it 5-2 and extend the streak.

"We're going out there and working our tails off trying to work on track," Miley said, "and I think we're moving in the right direction."

Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger (3-3) walked four and hit two batters in five innings, but he only gave up two runs to earn his first win in five starts since May 20.

"That's the ultimate bend but don't break," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

The victory lifted Cleveland a season-high seven games over .500 (39-32) and lengthened its lead over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central to 2 games.

Seth Smith homered for the Orioles, who have lost 11 of 15.

"There's not a single person that has any sympathy for us, and I get it," cleanup hitter Mark Trumbo said.

Baltimore played without manager Buck Showalter, who left the team to attend the birth of his first grandchild. Bench coach John Russell took over as manager.

After Smith put the Orioles ahead with his fourth leadoff homer of the season, Jackson hit an RBI triple and scored on a single by Yan Gomes in the second inning.

Baltimore pulled even in the bottom half when Clevinger hit two batters and walked Jonathan Schoop with the bases loaded .

In the third, Jackson followed a pair of walks with a two-out, two-run single for a 4-2 lead.

RAMIREZ STOPPED

Cleveland's Jose Ramirez went 1 for 4, ending his run of successive multihit games at nine -- the team's longest streak since 1936.

Ramirez hasn't had a day off since May 21, so Francona asked him if he wanted to take a break.

"He's like, `Not now,'" Francona said. "I get it, man. I'll just stay out of his way."

ROSTER MOVE

Indians: Clevinger was recalled from Triple-A Columbus before the game, and RHP Cody Allen was placed on the paternity list.

Orioles: After the game, RHP Gabriel Ynoa was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: LF Michael Brantley (sprained ankle) took batting practice Thursday and is expected to do running drills Friday. Francona said Brantley, who is eligible to return Monday, shouldn't need a rehab assignment.

Orioles: RHP Darren O'Day (shoulder) is expected to come off the 10-day disabled list Friday. ... CF Adam Jones was given the night off. It was a preventive measure, because Jones missed time recently with a sore hip and Baltimore's next six games are on artificial turf. ... Closer Zach Britton (forearm strain) pitched a scoreless inning for Class A Delmarva on Thursday. He will pitch again for the Shorebirds on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Indians: Trevor Bauer (6-5, 5.54 ERA) makes his team-high 15th start in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Twins.

Orioles: Back in the starting rotation after being exiled to the bullpen, Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 6.25 ERA) helps launch a three-game series on the road against AL East rival Tampa Bay.

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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