BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles are beginning to find the kind of starting pitching they've been waiting for all season, and it's a big reason for their three-game winning streak.
Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer, and Pedro Alvarez added a solo shot to support seven shutout innings from starter Kevin Gausman as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Cleveland Indians 5-2 on Saturday night.
The Orioles (56-40) have stayed in first place in the American League East for much of this season despite finding inconsistent starting pitching. But in their last three games, Chris Tillman (one run, seven innings), Dylan Bundy (one run, five innings) and Gausman (no runs, seven innings) have given the team's offense a chance to go to work.
"[The Indians have] a good offense, and I think me and Bundy both pitched well the last few days and really everybody has pitched well," Gausman said. "I think that more than anything is big. Any time you beat a team in the American League, especially a team that is leading their division, it's huge."
The Orioles lead the major leagues in homers with 146 but good starting pitching can give the powerful offense better opportunities to take command of games.
That's when happened Friday and again in this game as three-run first innings let Baltimore jump in front to stay.
"The first inning kind of jumped up and grabbed us again," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "You know, sometimes you kind of tip your hat to the other team."
Trumbo hit his homer in the first for the Orioles, who won their third straight game.
The first-inning uprising proved plenty for Gausman (2-7), who turned in a second consecutive strong start. The right-hander snapped a two-game losing streak and allowed four hits while striking out seven and walking three.
"He's taken a step," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's competing, he's taking the ball every fifth day. It got delayed a little bit because we wanted to be cautious with it and we know how long the season is. He's taken the step."
Zach Britton recorded his 32nd save in 32 chances by getting the game's final out after Lonnie Chisenhall lined a two-run double off Brad Brach in the ninth.
According to STATS, LLC, the 32 straight saves to start the season tied the record for a left-handed pitcher set by Detroit's Willie Hernandez during the team's World Championship season in 1984.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin (10-3) lost for the second time in three starts despite pitching well. Tomlin has had trouble with homers this season and gave up Trumbo's blast plus Alvarez's solo homer in the seventh that gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead over Cleveland (56-40).
Tomlin has given up 24 homers in 113 2 /3 innings this season. He allowed four runs in six-plus innings despite striking out eight without a walk.
Jonathan Schoop added an RBI single for Baltimore's last run.
For the second straight night, the Orioles struck early.
Davis saved the rally by hustling to beat the throw to first on a double play ball, which would have ended the inning.
"We needed to turn that," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "We just didn't have enough urgency for the play. Tip your hat to Chris Davis for running so hard down the line."
Trumbo followed with a two-run home run to left field, giving the Orioles another 3-0 lead. That was his 30th homer this season, the most in the majors.
Cleveland couldn't start much on offense in this game, which featured a 14-minute rain delay before the fourth. The Indians put runners on base in four of the first five innings but stranded two in the first and grounded into inning-ending double plays in fourth and fifth.
NOTES: On the injury front, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said C Matt Wieters (foot) is doing better but did not play for a fifth straight game. Showalter's hoping for a Monday return. ... LF Hyun Soo Kim (strained hamstring) will go on a two-day rehab assignment to Double-A Bowie starting Sunday and could return from the disabled list as early as Tuesday. RHP Darren O'Day (strained hamstring) could be activated Sunday or Monday. ... RHP Ubaldo Jimenez went on the paternity leave list, and the Orioles recalled RHP Tyler Wilson from Triple-A Norfolk. ... 3B Juan Uribe, hit in the head last night, felt better on Saturday. Indians manager Terry Francona said Uribe woke up with a bit of a headache and soreness where the pitch hit him in the face. Still, Uribe did not start but did pinch-hit in the ninth. ... RF Lonnie Chisenhall returned to the lineup Saturday after missing Friday's game due to a virus. Francona said Chisenhall got IVs Friday and improved.