Orioles remain hot with 2nd straight 13-0 shutout of Indians
For 71 minutes Saturday afternoon, Andrew Cashner was not scheduled to start for the Orioles. The threat of imminent weather and an eventual delay prompted manager Brandon Hyde to announce instead that right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong would start, so as to not waste any of the innings Cashner’s right arm could provide if the delay came in-game.
Instead, a 66-minute delay preceded the Orioles’ meeting with the Cleveland Indians, and after a brief dose of rain at Camden Yards, it was the Orioles pouring it on in support of Cashner in a second straight 13-0 victory.
The Orioles (24-58) became the first team in major league history to record consecutive shutouts by that wide of a margin, per STATS. Their back-to-back drubbings of the competitive Indians (44-38) gave them their first series victory in more than two months and their first consecutive victories in nearly the same span.
“It was kind of a cluster,” Cashner said, “but thank God the weather came when it did.”
A night after setting a season high in runs, Saturday marked the Orioles’ second straight double-digit run output after having just two double-digit efforts through their first 80 games. They also had only one shutout before Friday, entering this series with 13 defeats in the prior 14 games.
Saturday provided the Orioles’ first series victory since April 22-24 against the Chicago White Sox and first consecutive wins since May 4-6. It was also their first back-to-back shutouts since Sept. 2-3, 2016, as an Orioles pitching staff that has struggled for the better part of the year has now put together a scoreless streak of 19 innings.
Cashner (8-3) was at his best after being scratched less than an hour before the scheduled start time and announced again as the starter. He put together his fourth straight quality start amid a June in which he has posted a 1.44 ERA. He retired the first 11 Indians before Carlos Santana’s two-out single in the fourth.
Cashner then didn’t allow a runner to reach second until the seventh. He stranded him there as he completed seven scoreless innings, using his changeup more than he has in any start this season against Cleveland’s lefty-heavy lineup. He held the Indians to 2-for-17 with three strikeouts against his changeup, which he used for 40 of his 98 pitches.
“I thought it was one of the best changeups I’ve had this season,” Cashner said.
That led to what Hyde coined “Cash’s best start of the season.”
“It starts with starting pitching. There’s no doubt about it,” Hyde said. “And John Means was phenomenal last night, and Andrew Cashner … His changeup was a plus-plus pitch against a mainly lefthanded lineup and was able to locate his fastball and got a ton of ground balls to the right side off the left-handed hitters. Just did an amazing job of changing speeds.”
The Orioles’ lineup seemingly couldn’t stop scoring. Starting with a six-run fourth inning that broke open a 1-0 game, they scored multiple runs in four straight innings.
Hanser Alberto has risen to be among the AL’s batting average leaders by hitting well against lefties and against fastballs, but he put the Orioles on the board in the second with an RBI double off a slider from right-hander Zach Plesac (3-3).
The Orioles’ Renato Nunez hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.