Tribe Celebrates Sweet 16 With Another Shutout; Indians 5, Orioles 0
Bob Toth | On 08, Sep 2017
It took 75 years for the Cleveland Indians to break their franchise record of 13 straight wins (despite matching the mark in 1951). The team needed just 14 months to break that new record of 14, coming with the club’s victory in Chicago on Thursday.
That most recent record lasted less than 24 hours as the Indians returned home to Progressive Field and celebrated a sweet 16th as they blanked the Baltimore Orioles in a 5-0 four-hit shutout on Friday night in the first game of a ten-game homestand.
The Indians extended their winning streak to 16 straight with a big first inning home run and another start from a polished Mike Clevinger, who made a third strong start in a row for the Tribe. The shutout was the Indians’ Major League leading 17th scoreless game of the season.
Clevinger worked a quiet first before his offense got to work with a big inning against left-hander Wade Miley. Francisco Lindor drew a leadoff walk before he was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice off of the bat of Austin Jackson. Yandy Diaz moved Jackson to second with a single to right and the duo got a scenic tour of the Progressive Field infield as Edwin Encarnacion drove Miley’s second offering deep over the wall in center to put the Indians up, 3-0.
Clevinger would need little more support from there. He worked around a pair of walks in the second, getting a big double play to keep the Orioles at bay. The O’s put two on with two outs in the third when Tim Beckham walked and Manny Machado singled him to third, but Clevinger showed some moxie by striking out the dangerous Jonathan Schoop for his third K of the inning. Trey Mancini singled with one out in the fourth and Adam Jones did the same with two outs in the sixth, but neither man advanced any further as Clevinger held the lead firm at 3-0.
Miley did a great job of settling in after the rough first frame. He walked Erik Gonzalez with one out in the second and erased him on a double play. The fourth ended in similar fashion, as Carlos Santana’s one-out single was negated by a Brandon Guyer inning-ending double play grounder. Lindor doubled with two down in the fifth, but Jackson grounded out to waste the first real threat that the Indians had had since the fourth batter of the night.
That would change in the sixth, when the Indians ended Miley’s night with a pair of big doubles. Diaz doubled to left to start the home half and moved to third on a groundout by Encarnacion. Jay Bruce grounded to first, unable to drive in Diaz, but Santana came through with a ground rule double to right, scoring Diaz with the fourth run of the night and bringing on Miguel Castro from the bullpen for manager Buck Showalter. He walked pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall for a righty-righty matchup against Roberto Perez and got the Indians game-caller to ground to third to strand a pair.
Tribe skipper Terry Francona turned to his bullpen in the seventh, bringing on Tyler Olson to protect the four-run lead. He did just that, getting Chris Davis to line to third, Mark Trumbo to strike out swinging, and Seth Smith to fly to left.
The Indians added the always beneficial insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. Castro retired Gonzalez before a single by Lindor to right. Lindor stole second, prompting an intentional walk of Bradley Zimmer. Giovanny Urshela worked a walk to load the bases for Encarnacion, who struck out swinging for the second out after fouling off several pitches. Richard Bleier, a reliable lefty in the Baltimore bullpen, was summoned to face the left-handed hitting Bruce, but a wild pitch just away from catcher Caleb Joseph allowed an alert and aggressive Lindor to take home plate while moving the Indians up another run at 5-0.
Bryan Shaw pitched a perfect eighth, striking out the first two batters that he faced. Nick Goody came on for the ninth, getting the first two outs of the game before Mancini singled to center to keep the game alive with his second hit. He would move into scoring position on a wild pitch (creating just the second at bat for the Orioles with a runner in scoring position on the night), but the next pitch was grounded by Davis to short for the final out in yet another shutout for the Tribe this season.
Clevinger (9-5, 3.30 ERA) fired off six scoreless innings, allowing three hits while walking three batters and striking out seven. He did something that had not been done by a member of the Tribe starting rotation since 1981 in making his third straight scoreless quality outing, as he became the first Indians pitcher since John Denny 36 years ago to make three consecutive starts of six innings or more without allowing a run. Denny’s efforts were a bit different, as all three of his games were complete game shutouts (from August 28 to September 6) during the strike-shortened season and were his only shutouts of the season.
Miley (8-12, 4.96) kept the game close after his rough first inning and spared the Baltimore bullpen some significant work to start its road trip. He lasted five and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts on the night.
Diaz, Lindor, and Santana each had two-hit games for the Tribe on Friday. Diaz scored twice, while Lindor reached a third time with a walk. Santana did similar and drove in his 76th run of the year behind his 33rd double.
Mancini had half of the Orioles’ four hits on the night. Baltimore sent just three over the minimum to the plate in the series opener.
It will be a short delay for Tribe fans before they are treated to more baseball in Cleveland. A Fox broadcast leads to an unusual 1:05 PM ET start for Saturday’s game as right-handers Josh Tomlin (8-9, 5.20) and Gabriel Ynoa (1-0, 3.68) will take the ball for their respective clubs. Tomlin looks to win a fifth straight game while making his second start since returning from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week. Ynoa will make his first start of the season and his first start as a member of the Orioles. Two of his previous five relief appearances this season came against the Indians during the club’s four-game series in Baltimore back in June.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images