BALTIMORE — When the Baltimore Orioles are in a home-run groove, anyone in the lineup is capable of hitting the ball out — regardless of who’s serving it up.
Just ask the St. Louis Cardinals, who have absorbed two straight whippings from the AL East leaders.
Caleb Joseph homered in his fifth consecutive game, Nelson Cruz hit his 30th and Delmon Young also went deep as the Orioles beat John Lackey and the Cardinals 10-3 Saturday.
All three home runs came with a man on against Lackey (1-1), making his second start since coming from Boston in a July 31 trade. The right-hander gave up nine runs and 13 hits in five-plus innings to fall to 14-8 lifetime against Baltimore.
The Orioles have hit nine homers in winning the first two games of the three-game set by a collective 22-5 score. Baltimore has captured seven straight series and leads the AL East by six games, its largest margin since September 1997.
“Obviously, they are a hot team right now,” Lackey said. “You got to give them a lot of credit. They’re swinging the bats well. Hits were falling in. A couple of them were hit real hard and they went out of the yard.”
Joseph, a rookie, had three homers in first 48 games before his recent power surge. The club record for homers in successive games is six, by Reggie Jackson and Chris Davis.
“Maybe seven, eight months ago I was thinking about hanging it up,” Joseph said. “Every day in the big leagues is such a blessing, and especially to be on this team with this group of guys and to be in first place.”
Baltimore leads the majors with 147 and has connected in eight straight games. Over the last two days, the Orioles have gotten home runs from eight different players.
“This is a team that is swinging the bat well,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “When you have some confidence in the entire lineup, it doesn’t matter who is pitching. It’s just another one of those days. I don’t think there have been many times this year when we said, ‘It’s one of those days,’ two days in a row. They just kept swinging.”
Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8) returned from a stint on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle to earn his first win since May 8. He allowed three runs, six hits and three walks over six innings.
Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract during the offseason, was 0-5 with a 10.55 ERA in day games and 1-6 at home.
“The guys have been on a good run in the last month, last month-and-a-half and so I am very happy to be part of it,” the right-hander said.
Jon Jay homered and had two RBIs and Jhonny Peralta hit two doubles for the Cardinals, now 7-12 in interleague play.
An RBI double by Peralta gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the first, but Matt Holliday was thrown out while trying to score on the hit.
After Jay hit his second homer in 266 at-bats in the second, Baltimore went in front in the bottom half when Young doubled in a run and Joseph homered.
Cruz connected in the third after an infield hit by Adam Jones for a 5-2 lead. It was his first homer since July 25.
Young homered to cap a three-run fifth, and the Orioles chased Lackey in the sixth with three straight singles.
INDIANS 3, YANKEES 0
NEW YORK — Corey Kluber pitched four-hit ball for a superb six innings and Jose Ramirez hit his first career homer as the Indians ended a four-game skid with a victory over the Yankees.
Michael Brantley also homered and had three hits for Cleveland, which won at Yankee Stadium for the first time in eight games. Ramirez hit a two-run drive in the second inning and had three hits.
Derek Jeter had an infield single in the sixth inning to pass Honus Wagner for sixth on the career list with No. 3,431. But New York was 0 for 9 with six strikeouts with runners in scoring position in losing for just the second time in eight games.
Kluber (13-6) did not allow a hit until Jacoby Ellsbury doubled with one out in the fourth. He struck out 10 to beat New York for the first time in three tries.
BLUE JAYS 3
TIGERS 2 (10)
TORONTO — Nolan Reimold hit a game-winning double in the 10th inning and the Blue Jays rallied past the Tigers, spoiling Max Scherzer’s bid to become the first 14-game winner in the American League.
Danny Valencia singled off Joba Chamberlain to begin the 10th and Reimold followed with a double to the wall in left-center as Valencia scored without a play.
Scherzer allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. He walked none and struck out 11, two shy of his season high.
Chamberlain (1-5) came on to start the 10th after Joakim Soria, who finished the ninth, appeared to suffer a back injury while warming up before the inning.
RAYS 4, CUBS 0
CHICAGO — Jake Odorizzi struck out nine in six scoreless innings and combined with two relievers on a five-hitter to lead the Rays to a victory over the Cubs.
Evan Longoria drove in a run and scored two. Yunel Escobar added two hits and three RBIs. Ben Zobrist had two hits and scored twice for the Rays, who improved to a major league-best 15-6 since July 12. They will try to complete the three-game sweep on Sunday.
Odorizzi (8-9) gave up three hits and didn’t walk a batter. The right-hander came within two strikeouts of his career high after getting hit hard in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Chicago starter Edwin Jackson (6-12) allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits in six innings. He is 1-5 in his past nine starts.
ROYALS 5, GIANTS 0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — James Shields threw a four-hitter and Alex Gordon homered as the Royals won their sixth straight, beating the Giants.
The Royals have won nine of 10 to move with 1 1-2 games of AL Central-leading Detroit. The Royals, who have not made the playoffs since beating St. Louis in the 1985 World Series, are in second place in the AL wild card standings.
Shields (11-6) gave up three singles in the first four innings. He allowed only two Giants to reach second base. He walked Joe Panik in the fifth and he moved to second on a wild pitch with two outs, but was stranded. Panik doubled in the eighth.
It was Shields’ ninth career shutout, his first since Sept. 9, 2012.
Tim Hudson (8-9) gave up a home run to Gordon to lead off the fifth inning.
BREWERS 4, DODGERS 1
MILWAUKEE — Mike Fiers held the Dodgers to three hits in his first big league start in more than a year, and Khris Davis and Carlos Gomez homered to give the Brewers a win.
Fiers (1-1) struck out five in eight strong innings, filling in for injured veteran Matt Garza. The Dodgers mustered only a solo homer by Adrian Gonzalez into the second deck in right field.
Fiers outdueled former Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke (12-8), who gave up Gomez’s homer off the left-field foul pole that made it 3-1 leading off the sixth.
The Dodgers brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with two outs against Francisco Rodriguez, but the closer got Matt Kemp to ground out for his 35th save.
PADRES 2, PIRATES 1
PITTSBURGH — Eric Stults got his first road win of the season, going 6 1-3 innings as the Padres beat the Pirates.
Stults (5-13) gave up one run and seven hits, struck out six and walked none. He entered the game with an 0-9 record away from Petco Park.
The Padres scored both runs in the first inning off Francisco Liriano (3-8). San Diego loaded the bases with no outs and scored on Jedd Gyorko’s RBI single and Yasmani Grandal’s sacrifice fly.
Pittsburgh answered in the home half when Josh Harrison led off with a single, stole second and scored on Russell Martin’s RBI single.
After the first inning Liriano retired the next 17 batters he faced before walking Grandal with two outs in the seventh. He gave up three hits and a walk in seven innings.
ASTROS 8, RANGERS 3
HOUSTON — Jon Singleton drove in three runs, and the Astros handled Yu Darvish again in a win over the Rangers to stretch the streak against their in-state rival to seven victories in a row.
Darvish (10-7) allowed nine hits and six runs — five earned — in four-plus innings in his second-shortest start of the season. It was his second straight tough outing against the Astros after they tagged him for a season-high 10 hits with six runs in six innings on July 9.
Singleton had an RBI single in Houston’s two-run first and added a two-run double as the Astros tacked on four runs in the fifth.
Houston’s Scott Feldman (6-8) allowed eight hits and three runs with six strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
METS 2, PHILLIES 1 (11)
PHILADELPHIA — Lucas Duda singled home the go-ahead run with one out in the 11th inning to lead the Mets to a victory over the Phillies.
It was New York’s 11th victory over the Phillies in the last 12 games in Philadelphia.
Long after starters Cole Hamels and Dillon Gee exited following their duel, Curtis Granderson opened the 11th with a single off Antonio Bastardo (5-5). Following an out, David Wright singled and Eric Campbell walked to load the bases.
Duda then lined Bastardo’s first pitch sharply into right field to score Granderson. Justin De Fratus relieved Bastardo and got the final two outs.
MARLINS 4, REDS 3
CINCINNATI — Brad Penny rejoined the Marlins for the first time in 10 years and pitched five solid innings to get a notable win, over the slumping Reds.
The 36-year-old helped the Marlins win the World Series in 2003 and played one more season in Miami before moving on. Called up earlier Saturday, Penny (1-0) put the Marlins in position for their second straight win over Cincinnati, which is 8-14 since the All-Star break.
Penny gave up Jay Bruce’s solo homer and an unearned run in five innings, fanning three while throwing 95 pitches.
Bryan Morris gave up two hits and a run in the eighth. Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 32 chances.
PHOENIX — David Peralta hit a grand slam in Arizona’s nine-run eighth inning, Mark Trumbo homered and drove in four runs, and the Diamondbacks routed the bumbling Rockies.
Arizona led 5-4 heading into the eighth inning behind Trumbo’s a three-run homer off Jorge De La Rosa (11-8) and seven effective innings by Trevor Cahill (2-8).
The Rockies came apart in the bottom half of the inning with two errors, a passed ball and a wild pitch. Colorado also walked in a run and Peralta capped the eight-hit inning with his first career grand slam over the pool in right-center.