Well, it had sure been a while. Without two straight wins since May 4-6 and a series win since April 22-24, the Orioles got both today in another stunning shutout blowout win over the Cleveland Indians.
That’s the Indians team that had the best record in the American League in June when they got here at 16-7. An Indians team that beat the O’s three of four last month in Cleveland. And an Indians team that began this series 14-4 versus Baltimore since the 2017 season.
But with a 13-0 win last night and another 13-0 win today, the Orioles broke out on offense, posted back-to-back shutouts and proved once again, you can’t predict ball.
According to STATS, the Orioles are the first team ever to produce back-to-back shutout wins while scoring 13 or more runs each time.
The O’s team doing this had lost 13 of 14 and 17 of 20 with a seven-game home losing streak as this series began. Today the Orioles ended a streak of 14 straight losing series and they were 0-17-1 in series play since taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox in late April. This is Cleveland’s first two-game losing streak since May 30-31.
The Orioles have back-to-back shutouts for the first time since Sept. 2-3, 2016 at Camden Yards versus the Yankees.
They had scored double-digit runs twice all year before Friday and now have done it back-to-back games. They had one shutout when this series began and now have three.
Hanser Alberto’s RBI double in the second provided a 1-0 lead and a six-run fourth broke it open. That frame feature Anthony Santander’s 410-foot solo homer, Jonathan Villar’s two-run double, Trey Mancini’s RBI double and a Renato Núñez two-run homer, his 17th. Núñez ended a 15-game homerless run.
Mancini’s two-run single in the fifth made it 9-0 and Chance Sisco’s two-run homer to right in the sixth made it an 11-0 lead. It was his fourth home run and second in two games.
Cleveland used position player Mike Freeman to pitch in the seventh and Núñez hit a two-run homer for the final margin. He had his second career two-homer game and a career-high four RBIs.
The Orioles’ six-run fourth tied for their biggest inning of the year. This was their first back-to-back games with 10 runs or more since last Aug. 28-29. At the start of this series, the O’s had scored three runs or less in nine of last 13 and 17 of their past 26 games.
Now we can get to the pitching. Andrew Cashner’s strong June continued today with seven scoreless on three hits. He retired the first nine today on 36 pitches and gave up his first hit with two outs in the fourth. He walked one, fanned six and improved to 8-3 with an ERA of 4.03. That doubles his 2018 win total. Cashner has an ERA of 1.44 in four June starts and all four are quality starts.
So the Orioles improved to 24-58 as today they passed the season’s midpoint. They are 11-30 at home as they won for just the third time in 16 games.
They can complete a series sweep on Sunday afternoon when Gabriel Ynoa (0-5, 6.75 ERA) faces righty Shane Bieber (6-3, 3.83 ERA).