By Jordan Bastian and August Fagerstrom
CLEVELAND -- The Orioles waited more than a year to have All-Star catcher Matt Wieters back in their lineup. On Friday night, he returned in a big way, driving in a pair of runs to help lead Baltimore to a 5-2 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field.
Wieters, who had not played for the Orioles since May 10 last season due to a right elbow injury, delivered an RBI double in the fourth inning and later added some insurance with a run-scoring sacrifice fly. The win was only the second in the past seven games for Baltimore, and it marked Cleveland's fifth loss in its past 17 games.
"Any time you're able to have a guy like Wieters in the lineup and catching, just being around the team, the impact that he makes on a game is huge," Baltimore starter Chris Tillman said. "All our catchers have been doing good, but it's nice to have him back, and I'm happy for him."
Indians starter Shaun Marcum (2-1) picked up the loss after giving up three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked one. After giving up Wieters' RBI double, Marcum later allowed an RBI single to Ryan Flaherty in the fourth. Adam Jones also tagged Marcum for a towering leadoff home run in the sixth to put the Orioles ahead for good, 3-2.
"I thought early on, [Marcum was] real good -- really good deception," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "As they saw him a couple times, and he left some balls up, that's where they got their scoring. But again, he goes six, gives up three. He knows what he's doing."
Tillman (3-7) picked up the win after limiting the Indians to two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, in which he struck out three and walked three. Both runs came in the fifth inning, when Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley each delivered an RBI single to temporarily pull the game into a 2-2 deadlock.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Wieters worth the wait: In just his second at-bat since returning from Tommy John surgery, Wieters put the Orioles on the board with a full-count double off the left-field wall in the fourth, scoring Chris Davis, who had walked after falling behind 1-2. It had been 390 days since Wieters had last played in a Major League game. Wieters later singled in the sixth inning and drove in his second run of the night with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
"We didn't need Matt to have a good game to remind us what he was capable of," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm just glad for him and his family to feel good about tonight. It's been a long journey for him." More >
Pulling even: After being held to one hit in the first four innings by Tillman, the Indians rallied for two runs in the fifth. Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles got things rolling with a single apiece, and Kipnis put the Tribe on the board with an RBI single to center. Brantley later followed with a two-out single to right, scoring Aviles and tying the game, 2-2.
Jones jack: After the Indians struck back with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning, Jones and the Orioles wasted no time getting back on top. Jones took an 0-1 Marcum slider about halfway up the left-field bleachers. The blast was Jones' eighth of the season, and was projected by Statcast™ to land 433 feet away with an exit velocity of 108 mph.
"The ballpark was obviously playing big," Francona said. "Not big enough for Jones, but big."
Bad bounce: Baltimore managed to extend its lead to 5-2 in the eighth, thanks in part to a strange hop on a ball hit by Jones. On what looked like a single to right field, the ball bounced near right fielder Brandon Moss but then bounced sharply to the outfielder's left. Moss couldn't get a glove on the ball, paving the way for an RBI triple.
"I think Mossy thought he had a chance to catch it," Francona said. "And then he got caught in-between, and then it checked up, like a golf shot kind of, and it squirted the other way."
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Ex-Indian Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 3.12 ERA) will face his former club for just the third time since signing with Baltimore as a free agent on February 19, 2014. Jimenez was roughed up in his two outings against the Tribe last year, allowing 11 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings on nine hits (two home runs) and eight walks.
Indians: Hard-throwing right-hander Danny Salazar (5-1, 3.79 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Tribe on Saturday in a 4:10 p.m. ET tilt against the Orioles. Salazar has gone 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA and .234 opponents' average over his past five starts for Cleveland, which has won 12 of its last 17 games.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.