September is an eternity.

As his club prepared for the final month of the regular season Orioles manager Buck Showalter constantly reminded reporters that anything can happen down the stretch. Only two days in Showalter who managed the first-ever Wild Card team in Arizona certainly looks like he knows what he's talking about.

A day after a lethargic Baltimore lineup snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak with seven unanswered runs and a sweep-avoiding win the Orioles got a bout of luck in watching Indians ace Justin Masterson exit with injury one batter into the second inning on Monday afternoon. The result a 7-2 series-opening win over Cleveland helps prop up a previously scuffling third-place O's club and moves them within two games of the Rays who lost to the Angels for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"We want to be more than relevant" Showalter said. "People are saying well you're playing [in meaningful games]. It's more than that. It's about doing the things it takes to stay in it. It usually starts and ends with the starting pitching setting the tone and Bud [Norris] was the difference-maker. Especially after we scored some runs he went right back out there and put some zeros up."

Backed by a standout effort from Norris who turned in seven quality innings for his career-high 10th win the O's used a three-run second inning to jump out to an early lead to hand the Tribe their fifth loss in six games. The victory in front of 15020 at Progressive Field ensured Baltimore stays a half-game up on the Yankees -- in both the AL East and Wild Card -- and 1 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland.

"We know what we have in this clubhouse. It's a special group of guys" said Norris who turned in his best outing since being acquired in a Trade Deadline deal with Houston. "We have a lot of talent and we're coming together. A couple breaks haven't gone our way this year but a couple have.

"Everybody is picking each other up and supporting the guy next to them and we really do have a chance to do something."