The Orioles began play tonight with a record of 4-19 in June. They had lost 13 of the last 14 and 17 of 20. Cleveland began play with a June record of 16-7 - best in the American League.
The O’s offense has been slow enough recently to the point the club scored three runs or less nine times in the last 13 games and 17 times in the past 26.
So the Orioles naturally scored four runs in the first and second innings tonight to lead 8-0 after two. They beat Cleveland 13-0 to improve to 23-58 at the season’s midpoint, and are now on a 46-win pace.
The Orioles, who broke a seven-game home losing streak, won for just the second time since June 12. It was their biggest win margin of the year, topping two earlier wins by eight runs each in April.
Up by 9-0 to the last of the eighth, they added four more runs as Chance Sisco and Anthony Santander finished off big nights. Sisco’s two-run double made it 11-0 and gave him a 3-for-5 night and a career-high five RBIs. He homered in the second and was robbed of a second homer. Santander went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and four RBIs.
Left-hander John Means, who had been out with a left shoulder strain, rejoined the rotation for the first time since June 16. He may have showed some rustiness during a 23-pitch first inning, but he gave the team a scoreless outing. Before the game, manager Brandon Hyde said he’d be limited with his pitch count after missing time. So over five innings, he gave up just one hit with one walk and five strikeouts on 84 pitches.
Means is now 7-4 with a 2.50 ERA. In 10 home games this season he is 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA and he’s allowed two earned runs or less in 10 of his 13 starts. Tonight, he retired the last 11 batters he faced.
Branden Kline followed him and threw two scoreless innings, Paul Fry pitched a scoreless eighth and Miguel Castro threw the ninth and completed the Orioles’ second shutout of 2019. They beat Tampa Bay 3-0 on May 4.
The Orioles’ early onslaught came against Tribe right-hander Mike Clevinger, who was making just his fourth start and coming off the injured list for the second time. Tonight, he gave up seven runs and five hits over 1 2/3 innings, as his ERA rose from 2.70 to 5.89 after just 52 pitches.
In the O’s first, Sisco blasted a first-pitch 98 mph fastball onto Eutaw Street for his third homer and a 2-0 lead. Hanser Alberto’s two-run double made it 4-0. Sisco’s homer was the 99th on Eutaw Street in Oriole Park history, the 44th hit there by an Oriole and the first by the team since Jonathan Villar last Sept. 16.
In the second, Dwight Smith Jr.’s sac fly made it 5-0, Sisco’s single 6-0 and Santander’s two-run double 8-0.
In the first two innings, the Orioles went 6-for-11 with two doubles and two homers and were 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Rio Ruiz added an RBI single in the seventh for the 9-0 lead.
Join me tonight about 30 minutes after the last out for “Extra Innings” on O’s flagship 105.7 The Fan. Click here to listen live.