CLEVELAND (AP) - Justin Masterson, backed by three double plays, pitched 7 1-3 strong innings to help the Cleveland Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Monday night and avoided a four-game sweep.
Masterson (7-8) struck out six as Cleveland broke a four-game losing streak. The right-hander gave up only one run and seven hits, improving to 5-2 over his last eight starts.
Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances.
Shin-Soo Choo put the Indians ahead 2-0 with a two-run homer in the third inning off Tommy Hunter (4-5).
The Orioles twice ran themselves out of innings with poor decisions on the basepaths as they had a five-game winning streak stopped.
Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis all had two hits for Cleveland, which opens a key three-game home series Tuesday night against AL Central leader Detroit. The Indians trail the Tigers by four games.
Choo's homer was the 10th allowed by Hunter in his last seven starts and 20th this season.
Baltimore cut the deficit to 2-1 with two outs in the fifth. Masterson hit Ryan Flaherty in the left foot with a pitch. Omar Quintanilla followed with an RBI double _ his first hit since being acquired from the New York Mets on Saturday.
Quintanilla made his first start as manager Buck Showalter gave shortstop J.J. Hardy a rest. Hardy had a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder before the All-Star break.
Baltimore ran amok in the second and eighth.
Adam Jones doubled to open the second. After Matt Wieters struck out, Jones strayed off second on a ball hit back to Masterson by Wilson Betemit and was caught in a rundown. The Indians threw the ball around like a hot potato, but eventually got Jones. It was scored 1-5-6-5-4-6. Not your everyday fielder's choice.
In the eighth, Nick Markakis hit a one-out single, finishing Masterson. Indians manager Manny Acta brought in hard-throwing Vinnie Pestano, but lefty swinging Endy Chavez lined a 2-2 pitch the other way into the left-field corner for a double.
Markakis hustled around third base as left fielder Aaron Cunningham picked up the ball and threw to shortstop Cabrera. He appeared determined to score when third-base coach DeMarlo Hale suddenly threw up his hands as a signal to stop.
Markakis did _ halfway between third and home. By then, catcher Carlos Santana had Cabrera's relay throw in his mitt. He tossed to third baseman Jack Hannahan, who applied the tag to Markakis, who hung his head as he trotted to the Orioles' dugout.
Michael Brantley's bases-loaded single off reliever Troy Patton made it 3-1 in the bottom half.
NOTES: Indians OF Grady Sizemore, out since having back surgery in March, remains optimistic he will play this season, but says his progress hit a snag a month ago, when he felt better. "I don't know what OK feels like," said Sizemore, who had surgery on both knees in 2011. "I can't rehab my back fully because of the knees and can't rehab my knees because of the back." Sizemore takes batting practice and throws, but cannot run full speed. ... Acta said he liked the way RHP Roberto Hernandez threw during a bullpen session. Hernandez threw 30 to 35 pitches, utilizing fastballs, sinkers and sliders and likely will start a rehab assignment in the minors on Thursday. ... Orioles RHP Stu Pomeranz (sore back) will be re-evaluated by doctors Tuesday. He went to the DL with an oblique injury, then hurt his back while rehabbing. ... Orioles 2B Brian Roberts (hip injury) continues baseball activities in Sarasota, Fla. but there's no timetable for his return.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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