Neither team registered a hit in the game until Trey Mancini gave the O’s their one and only lead of the day in the top of the fourth inning. The designated hitter smacked a laser of a line drive to left field, and it just barely squeaked over the tall outfield fence to make it a 1-0 advantage for the visiting Orioles.
Mancini’s home run represented not only the O’s one run of the game, but it was also their lone hit. Indians starter Adam Plutko tossed six innings and allowed just the one run on one hit, two walks and four strikeouts. Then relievers Oliver Perez, Adam Cimber and Brad Hand made quick work of the Baltimore bats, combining for three no-hit frames to close out the win.
John Means started for the Orioles, and struggled to miss the Cleveland bats. Over five innings, the southpaw struck out just one batter while allowing three runs on five hits and three strikeouts.
Means’s first trip through the order was easy, but things got dicey in the fourth inning. Carlos Santana doubled with one out in the inning, and then came home to score on Jordan Luplow’s fifth long ball of the season.
Francisco Lindor extended the Indians lead with a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning to score Oscar Mercado, who had reached base moments earlier with his first career major league hit, a double to the left-center field gap.
The O’s yanked their starter after that fifth inning. Means wasn’t bad in this game, but his pitch count was quickly inflated and his inability to get strikeouts meant balls were constantly in play. That’s never a good sign.
Fellow lefty Paul Fry followed Means with two scoreless innings out of the O’s bullpen to keep things close. However, it was to no avail as the offense was unable to break through against the Indians relief staff.
Miguel Castro came on to pitch the eighth inning and, wouldn’t ya know it, it didn’t go well. The very first batter of the inning, Carlos Santana, hit an absolute bomb off of a Castro changeup to center field.
Castro completed the inning and now owns a season ERA of 7.84. The home run didn’t matter much anyway. The Orioles bats just did not show up, so the slight change in deficit didn’t provide much of an impact.
As a group, the O’s struck out nine times, walked thrice (one each by Chris Davis, Rio Ruiz and Renato Nunez) and left three runners on base.
Joey Rickard took an 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and may soon find himself swapping places with D.J. Stewart in Triple-A Norfolk. Richie Martin continued his struggles with an 0-for-2 and a strikeout. Heck, not even the suddenly hot Stevie Wilkerson could put up a fight; 0-for-3, one strikeout.
It was just one of those days where the opposing team was much better than these Orioles. It wasn’t the first time it’s happened this season, and it certainly won’t be the last.
The O’s will try and earn a series split on Sunday. Brandon Hyde will send Yefry Ramirez (0-1, 5.14 ERA) to the mound to face Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (2-2, 3.81). First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.