BALTIMORE -- Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer in the second inning after his Baltimore teammates put up four in the first inning and the Orioles held on for a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
The win gave Baltimore (80-57) a 9 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. Boston beat the Yankees, 9-4, earlier in the night.
Baltimore scored four runs thanks to five first-inning singles, as right fielder Nelson Cruz, first baseman Chris Davis and catcher Caleb Joseph all had RBI singles with third baseman Jimmy Paredes driving in a run with a grounder to second.
Schoop then added the solo homer leading off the second for a 5-0 edge.
Orioles starter Bud Norris (12-8) had a strange start due to the weather problems at the game's start. Rain storms delayed the beginning for 23 minutes, and then came up again while the Reds were batting in the first -- stopping play for 1 hour, 46 minutes.
Norris began the game and still came back to pitch after the long delay, lasting six innings. He blanked the Reds (66-72) on five hits, striking out seven with one walk.
Cincinnati starter Mat Latos (5-4) couldn't overcome a shaky start. Five of the first nine Baltimore batters scored runs before Latos settled down to last five innings. He allowed five runs on 10 hits overall.
The Reds made it interesting against right-hander Darren O'Day in the eighth. He walked center fielder Billy Hamilton before Paredes' throwing error on second baseman Brandon Phillips' grounder.
O'Day then loaded the bases by hitting catcher Devin Mesoraco. Right fielder Jay Bruce then belted a grand slam to right that cut Baltimore's lead to 5-4. O'Day gave up all four runs after allowing only six the entire season.
Left-hander Zach Britton closed it in the ninth and posted his 32nd save, but it wasn't easy. The Reds put runners on first and third with one out before first baseman Todd Frazier hit a grounder to second baseman Schoop, who tagged Hamilton and threw to first to finish the game-ending double play.
The play was reviewed but the ruling on the field stood, and the Orioles had their win.
NOTES: Reds CF Billy Hamilton set a new team record for steals by a rookie (55). ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said SS J.J. Hardy (lower back spasms) is improving and could be ready to start in the second game of the series Wednesday. Showalter pulled Hardy late in Monday's loss to the Twins because of the injury. ... When INF Kelly Johnson makes his Orioles debut, he'll become the first player to play for all five teams in the current American League East, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... Reds manager Bryan Price said RHP Homer Bailey had another MRI that showed his elbow problems hadn't improved much and a return this season wasn't likely. That's why the team put him on the 60-day disabled list this week. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips came into Tuesday's game with a 94-game error-less streak, the longest from a major leaguer at that position this season.