The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a two-game losing funk over the weekend. They, however, still lead the American League East division by a comfortable margin. The Orioles beat the New York Yankees in two home games early in the week, but went on to lose two straight road games to the Cleveland Indians on Friday and Saturday night. Baltimore holds a 6.5-game lead over the division with a 69-52 record, as of Aug. 16.

Aug. 11 – 13: Orioles Handle Yankees in Home Series

Adam Jones

Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones watches his three-run home run in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 5-3. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Orioles ran away with an 11-3 win over the Yankees in Game One of a three game series on Aug. 11. Starting pitcher Bud Norris gave up three early runs to the Yankees and was pulled from the mound after just five innings. But the bullpen settled the Yankees’ bats down and kept them scoreless for the remainder of the game. Third baseman Manny Machado went down with a right knee injury, and was replaced by Chris Davis, who went on to crush a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Outfielder Nelson Cruz also went the yard, hitting his 31st homer run of the season in the seventh inning, and second baseman Jonathan Schoop also hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the O’s routed New York.

Baltimore’ Game Two of the series against New York was postponed on Aug. 12 due to weather.  Game Three, nevertheless, went as scheduled as the O’s beat the Yankees, 5-3, on Aug. 13. Schoop hit another late home run in the eighth inning, this time sparking a late comeback for the birds. Outfielder Adam Jones followed up with a three-run homer to solidify the victory. Chris Tillman got the start at pitcher for the Orioles and lasted seven innings, allowing just two runs and five hits. Relief pitcher Zack Britton closed the game out for Baltimore, picking up his 25th save of the season.

Aug. 15-16: Baltimore Loses Two Straight in Cleveland

Nelson Cruz, Yan Gomes

Baltimore Orioles’ Nelson Cruz, left, scores as Cleveland Indians’ Yan Gomes waits for the ball in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Cleveland. Cruz scored on a single by J.J. Hardy. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Orioles had less fortune over the weekend as they traveled to Cleveland. Baltimore struggled batting in Game One on Aug. 15; recording just seven hits as a team with one run scored in 11 innings of action in a 2-1 loss. Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen had a strong performance on the mound, giving up just four hits and one run in seven innings pitched. But relief pitcher Brian Matusz blew the game in the 11th inning, giving up a walk-off home run to Indian’s baseman Mike Aviles.

The bats continued to struggle for Baltimore in Game Two Saturday night as the Orioles were shutout, 6-0, by the Indians. The O’s mustered up just four hits the entire game, two of them recorded by outfielder Nick Markakis. The pitching was just as bad as starter Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs in the first inning, then another three runs in the fifth inning before he was yanked from the mound.

Next-up: After closing out the series with the Indians on Sunday, Baltimore will travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in a three-game series Aug. 18-20. The Orioles will then stay in Chicago to take on the Cubs in another three-game series Aug. 22-24.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor