BALTIMORE - Nelson Cruz continues to hit home runs at a rapid pace.
Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and J.J. Hardy are all getting on base. And finally, slugger Chris Davis is again driving in runs.
For the first time this season, the Baltimore Orioles' potent lineup is putting up a multitude of runs on a nightly basis. On Friday night, Davis homered and drove in four runs, Cruz homered, and Markakis collected four hits in an 8-4 win over the Cleveland Indians before 39,602 at Camden Yards.
"Nelson's been hot all year. Jonesy's really starting to come on. And obviously me coming off the injury, I've started to swing the bat," Davis said. "I think this is really the first time we've all been swinging the bat well collectively."
It has been a while since Baltimore's run production has been this consistent. The Orioles scored six runs or more for the fifth straight game, the first time since Sept. 19-22, 2011, moving one game shy of the club record.
They also had 12 or more hits for the fifth straight game, which they hadn't done since May 26-June 1, 2004.
On Friday, the Orioles (24-22) struck for eight runs on 14 hits, as Cruz and Davis put them up early. Cruz belted his 15th homer of the season in the bottom of the second inning, a solo shot to right-center that gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead.
The following inning, Davis, who went 2 for 3 and reached base three times, ripped a two-run double down the right-field line off Cleveland starter T.J. House (0-1).
"Chris has been consistent in his approach," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think the experience he's gone through the last couple years gives him a lot of confidence in realizing how long a season is and how good he's capable of being."
Cleveland (23-26) quickly fought back. Lonnie Chisenhall hit an RBI double off Orioles starter Bud Norris (3-4) with no outs in the fourth to cut the deficit to 3-1. Three batters later, 43-year-old Jason Giambi hit an opposite-field, three-run home run to left giving Cleveland a 4-3 lead.
Davis helped the Orioles reclaim the lead in the fifth though, belting a go-ahead, two-run homer to right making it 5-4 Baltimore. It was Davis' seventh homer of the season and his fourth in four games.
"I'm just putting together better at-bats," Davis said. "It feels good to swing the bat well."
Markakis went 4 for 5 with a double and a run scored, Jones went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored, and Hardy went 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Baltimore scored a trio of unearned runs in the seventh to help pad its lead. After Jones double and Davis was intentionally walked, Cleveland reliever Mark Lowe attempted to turn a double play on a short grounder hit by Cruz, but instead threw the ball into the outfield, allowing Jones to score.
Davis then scored on an RBI groundout by Hardy and Cruz scored on an RBI double from Delmon Young.
Norris pitched six innings, giving up four runs on six hits and striking out six, winning for the first time in his last four starts. T.J. McFarland, Brian Matusz, and Darren O'Day then combined for three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit.
Norris had a high pitch count early, but was able to avoid trouble for the most part with the exception of the fourth inning, when all four runs were scored. The Orioles right-hander said it's been fun to watch the lineup give the starters plenty of run support as of late.
"We've got some Silver Sluggers around here," Norris said. "We know it's a 162-game stretch and the guys can get hot or cold and so forth, but tonight we got some support."
The run support hadn't necessarily translated to wins, however, as Baltimore lost 9-8 Wednesday and 8-7 Thursday.
Even though that had been the case, Davis said if the heart of the lineup (Jones, Davis, Cruz) can produce collectively, then the wins should certainly come.
"If we continue to get on base for each other and drive each other in," Davis said, "it's going to be huge for us."