Dou­ble dom­i­na­tion

Ori­oles re­main hot with 2nd straight 13-0 shutout of In­di­ans

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ORIOLES - By Nathan Ruiz

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).

MITCHELL LAY­TON/GETTY

The Ori­oles’ Re­nato Nunez hits a two-run home run in the eighth in­ning against the Cleve­land In­di­ans on Sat­ur­day.

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