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Davis homers, drives in four to lead Orioles

Cruz homers, Jones gets three hits; Norris goes six innings for victory

BALTIMORE -- Welcome back, Chris Davis.

After Tuesday's breakout three-homer game, the All-Star slugger -- who got off to a slow start and spent 15 days on the disabled list -- said he finally felt in sync following a frustrating first month-and-a-half.

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BALTIMORE -- Welcome back, Chris Davis.

After Tuesday's breakout three-homer game, the All-Star slugger -- who got off to a slow start and spent 15 days on the disabled list -- said he finally felt in sync following a frustrating first month-and-a-half.

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Since that night, he's looked like the Davis of old, the guy who hit 53 homers and drove in 138 runs in a historic season that thrust him into the national spotlight and made him one of baseball's most dangerous hitters.

Davis gave the Indians another reminder Friday, driving in four runs -- including a two-run homer -- to back a solid outing from starter Bud Norris and a well-balanced 14-hit attack that gave the Orioles a series-evening 8-4 win in front of 39,602 at Camden Yards.

"Chris doesn't have to swing hard to create some damage," said manager Buck Showalter, whose club has exploded for 38 runs over the past five games. "He's one of those guys you can't stay in one place in one pattern. I think he hit a breaking ball for a home run, he hit a fastball borderline off the plate for the double and kept it fair.

"Chris has been consistent in his approach. 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."

But it wasn't just Davis who got the Orioles offense going, as Nelson Cruz clubbed his 15th homer -- tying him for the Major League lead -- Nick Markakis had four hits and Adam Jones three in the club's second win in its past six games.

"I'm pretty pleased," Davis said of watching a lineup widely regarded as one of the best in baseball finally start to hit its stride. "I think it was just a matter of time. Obviously the more at-bats, the more comfortable you're going to get and we've been doing a good job of stringing good at-bats together lately and scoring some runs. I'm proud of the guys and the way they battled."

Baltimore (24-22) took an early lead on Cruz's homer in the second and Davis extended it to 3-0 with a one-out double down the right-field line in the third to score Markakis and Jones.

After Norris surrendered four runs in the fourth -- the only inning the righty allowed any runs -- Davis put the Orioles back ahead in his next at-bat in the fifth. Following Jones' single, Davis sent the first pitch he saw from righty T.J. House -- making his first career Major League start - into the stands for his seventh homer of the year. Since the start of the Pirates series on Tuesday, Davis is 8-for-16 with two doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs.

Is he starting to feel more like Chris Davis, circa 2013?

"I think so," he said. "Earlier in the year, I felt like I was still having good at-bats, seeing a lot of pitches, I felt like I was drawing a lot of walks, hitting the ball hard. And then obviously lately, starting to drive the ball a little bit better, not missing pitches earlier on. I thought I was fouling a lot of pitches off, good pitches to drive. Now, I'm obviously not missing them, so it feels good to swing the bat well."

Norris, who has been the team's best starter, backed all the offense with six strong innings as he continues to be a stabilizing force in the rotation. Of the righty's four runs allowed, three came on one swing of the bat from Jason Giambi, who recorded his first homer of the season in the fourth.

"He's got very good stuff," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Norris, who gave up six hits and a trio of walks. "It was one of those times where the gun says it's 93, but it looks and acts like it's more."

Cleveland threatened in the sixth inning, putting the potential tying run on third with one out after Lonnie Chisenhall doubled and moved to third on David Murphy's flyout. But Norris held firm, striking out Carlos Santana, and after issuing an intentional walk to Giambi, getting catcher Yan Gomes to fly out.

"He had that one inning, really. Other than that, he was pretty effective," Showalter said of Norris, who is 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA in nine starts. "He got a big out there with the catcher. He bent a little bit but didn't break. He made some real important pitches when he needed to. Santana there. But Bud very quietly has been pretty solid for us."

Norris, acquired in a Trade Deadline deal from Houston last July, credits just being healthy for his impressive start to the season and praised his new organization for being a positive environment.

"I just want to go out there and pitch and give my team a chance every five days and stay healthy," he said. "I think that's the best I can do. And I think they think that way, too."

Following Norris' 110-pitch outing. T.J. McFarland pitched around a one-out walk in the seventh and Brian Matusz recorded three outs before exiting after a leadoff single in the ninth, with Darren O'Day recording the final outs.

The O's capitalized on a bad Indians defense to score three unearned runs in the seventh against reliever Mark Lowe. It was Lowe's throwing error, on Cruz's grounder, that allowed a pair of runs and the O's added a two-out run on Delmon Young's double.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli.

Baltimore Orioles, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Bud Norris