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Manny Machado gives the Orioles a spark against the Indians

While the Orioles offense struggled for most of Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, third baseman Manny Machado once again provided a spark in a performance that started stagnant.

Machado went 2-for-4 with a double, run scored and RBI. He broke up Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir’s no-hit bid in the seventh with a lead-off double — his major league-leading 36th of the season — and drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth with a single off the left field wall.

Machado has the most doubles before the All-Star break since 1997, as Magglio Ordonez and Mike Sweeney had 35 in 2007 and 2001, respectively. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina has the second-most doubles in the majors with 26. He’s on pace for 74 doubles, which would surpass the major league record of 67 set by Earl Webb in 1931.

The multi-hit performance was the 20-year-old’s 33rd multi-hit game this season, which leads the majors. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera each notched their 32nd multi-hit games Wednesday night. Cabrera leads the majors in hits with 111 while Machado is second with 109.

After a slow start in which he batted .239 through the first 16 games, Machado has been steady in the No. 2 spot in the Orioles lineup. His average hasn’t dipped below .300 since April 27 with a peak of .343 on May 15. After Wednesday night’s game, his average sits at .319, tied for 14th-highest in the majors. He’s already reeled off a 14-game hit streak, too.

So while the Orioles struggled against Cleveland on Wednesday and mustered just four hits, Machado once again displayed the prowess at the plate he’s been known for through the first half of the season.

dgallen@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danieljtgallen

 

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