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BAL@KC: Norris holds Royals to one run over 7 1/3

It has been a month of firsts for Tribe pitcher T.J. House. On May 17, he made his Major League debut, tossing one perfect inning against the A's in relief.

Now, just three days after being sent back down to the Minors, House is set to make the first Major League start of his career on Friday night in the second of four against the Orioles.

"Even though this is technically my first start, I feel a little bit more comfortable going out there and kind of know what to expect of myself," House said.

After being forced to use much of its bullpen in a wacky 13-inning win over the Tigers on Wednesday, Cleveland elected to move Justin Masterson's start up by one day. That left a gap for Friday's game that House will now fill so the rest of the starting rotation can remain on its regular schedule.

House has spent most of the season with Triple-A Columbus, where he is 1-2 with a 2.40 ERA. The left-hander relies mostly on his sinker, which averaged at a shade under 94 mph in his lone appearance with Cleveland, and a changeup.

"His velocity did tick up some, but it's not because he was throwing harder," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He was pitching with movement. I just think he's using his lower half better, so he's got a bit more life to his fastball, getting a little more depth to the breaking ball."

House has seven relatives renting an SUV and making the 15-hour drive up to Baltimore from Mississippi to watch his first Major League start. They traveled to Baltimore in 2013 to see him pitch with the big league club, as well, but he did not make an appearance in the series.

"They must really love this park," House said. "Or maybe I'm just meant to pitch here."

Opposite House, the Tribe will be tasked with facing Orioles right-hander Bud Norris.

Norris has arguably been Baltimore's best starter this season after winning a spot in the rotation coming out of Spring Training. The right-hander has a 2-4 record through eight games despite a 3.58 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

Norris continues to provide the O's with solid outings, giving up three runs or fewer in four of his last five starts. On Saturday, he worked through 7 1/3 innings against the Royals, holding them to four hits and one run.

"They got kind of a cheap run in the first inning, but Bud just shut them down after that," catcher Caleb Joseph said. "He was a bulldog out there."

Norris has been particularly good at Camden Yards this season, going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. In his only career start against Cleveland, he pitched seven innings and allowed one run on a solo homer while striking out eight.

Orioles: Hunter to DL
Right-hander Tommy Hunter, who was removed from the closer role last week, was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Thursday's game with a left groin strain.

Hunter, who has been sidelined for as long as two months in the past with the same injury, first felt it while warming up on Wednesday. Both he and the team are optimistic that they caught it early and that it will be a minimal DL stay. The righty also made it clear he had not been hampered by the groin issue until Wednesday, so his struggles on the mound were unrelated.

"There's really no excuses for those [games]," Hunter said. "Sorry. That's what everybody is fishing for. I apologize. I can't give you any of those answers."

The Orioles recalled right-hander Preston Guilmet from from Triple-A Norfolk to take his spot on the roster. Guilmet was eligible to come up within the typical 10-day window because it's an injury situation.

Indians: Bullpen taxed after remarkable week
Cleveland has gone into extra innings in three of its last four games, including 13-inning affairs on Wednesday and Thursday, and won all three times. Much of the credit belongs to the team's bullpen, which combined to allow just seven runs over 21 1/3 innings in all three victories.

The Tribe have called 10 different relief pitchers into the game since Monday.

"We still made some mistakes and you're going to make mistakes," Francona said after Wednesday's game, "but we picked each other up, we looked to pick each other up and the good part is that it showed on the scoreboard."

Worth noting
• The last time the Indians played in back-to-back games of 13 innings or more was on June 21-22, 2003 against the Pirates. Cleveland lost both games in 15 innings.

• The O's offense has found its rhythm in recent days, scoring 23 runs in its last three games entering Thursday after plating just 15 over the previous seven. First baseman Chris Davis was a big part of the production, recording six hits and six RBIs during this week's two-game series at Pittsburgh.

• Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis will play the first game of his rehab assignment with the Columbus Clippers on Friday. Kipnis has not played since injuring his right oblique on April 29.

• Entering Friday, the Orioles are 23-22 on the season but just 4-12 against teams from the American League Central. Comments