Early leads have been recipes for success for both Cleveland and Baltimore this season, but it was five early ones for the Orioles on Friday that sent the club to a 5-1 win over the Indians in the series opener.
The O’s capitalized quickly and tacked on, giving pitcher Dylan Bundy plenty to work with in his second start of the season. After he shut down the Indians in the first, striking out three around a Jason Kipnis one-out single, his teammates got to work with one mighty swing of a bat.
Adam Jones singled to left to start the bottom half and moved to second on a one-out walk from Manny Machado. Indians starter Trevor Bauer got his second strikeout of the inning, freezing Chris Davis looking, but could not escape the Orioles threat as Mark Trumbo worked the count full before clobbering a hanging breaking ball over the wall in left-center to give Baltimore a 3-0 lead. It was his 29th homer of the season, pushing him back into the league lead.
The Indians had a handful of opportunities that they missed out on against Bundy, including one in the second. Tyler Naquin doubled down the right field line with one out and moved to third on a bloop single to center by Juan Uribe, but Abraham Almonte threw his bat at a 3-2 pitch and fouled out before Chris Gimenez flied to center to short circuit a big scoring chance.
Baltimore manufactured a run in the bottom half after J.J. Hardy led things off with a single to right. A walk from Caleb Joseph moved him to second and a sacrifice from Julio Borbon moved both runners up one station, setting the table for a sacrifice fly from Jones to make it 4-0. Machado made it 5-0 to lead off the bottom of the third with a 3-2 homer to straightaway center field.
In the top of the fifth, the Indians got their only run off of Bundy after a leadoff double from Almonte. He moved to third on a passed ball and later scored on a double play groundout from Carlos Santana to make it 5-1.
The Indians would put two runners on in the seventh and in the ninth, but could not get the game any closer. Zach Britton came on in the ninth for the final out to earn an easy save.
The Indians (56-39) fell to 1-3 against the Orioles this season with the loss, but still hold a strong lead in the AL Central. They are now 4-3 on their nine-game road trip. The Orioles (55-40) have now won two in a row and improved to 34-14 at home on the year. They moved back into first place in the AL East after Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
BUNDY MAKES STRONG SECOND START
Making just his second start of the season, Bundy (3-2, 3.50 ERA) kept the Indians in check throughout the night. He worked a season-high five innings, giving up one run on five hits while walking none and striking out five.
“I think both their pitchers, basically fastball and a really good changeup, they’re kinda alike,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Bundy came out, we’ve seen him in the bullpen where he’s kinda just thrown hard. He pitched tonight. I’m sure when you start to get stretched out you start using your secondary pitches.”
It was also the first Major League win for the Orioles starter.
DESPAGNE MISSES OUT ON RARE FOUR-INNING SAVE
Odrisamer Despaigne lasted three and two-thirds innings after taking over for Bundy in the sixth. He walked Almonte with two outs in the ninth, leading manager Buck Showalter to go to the ‘pen for closer Britton.
Only one four-inning save has been registered this season (Ivan Nova, New York Yankees versus Houston on April 6).
With Machado’s 20th homer of the season in the third, the Orioles became the first team in the AL to have three players with 20 homers or more. He joined teammates Trumbo and Davis.
BAUER A SHAKY START
Bauer (7-4, 3.65) seemed to struggle to find his command at times throughout the night in taking his fourth loss of the season. He worked four-plus innings on the night, departing after a leadoff walk to Machado in the fifth. He walked four on the night and allowed five hits, including the two costly home runs. He struck out five and threw 82 pitches, just 48 for strikes.
“It looked like when he got mad that he started to rear back and throw like he can, but not until then,” said Francona. “We had Manship up so often that we finally had to get him in or not pitch and that’s a tough thing for Manny. I thought our bullpen did a really good job.”
It was the first time this season that Bauer has given up multiple homers in a start.
WHO BROUGHT A GOLDEN SOMBRERO TO THE PARTY?
Napoli was 0-for-4 on the night with four strikeouts to earn the Golden Sombrero. The disappointing night at the plate for the Indians’ right-handed slugger ended his hitting streak at nine games.
URIBE WITH AN EARLY EXIT
Uribe was hit in the left ear flap of his helmet by a pitch from Despaigne in the seventh inning, but was able to leave the field under his own power. Rajai Davis took over on the bases for the veteran third baseman.
He was diagnosed with a head contusion in the clubhouse.
“He’s got a contusion on his cheek area there. Dodged a bullet. It looked and sounded bad,” said Francona. “He actually wanted to stay in the game. I thought for a second I wasn’t quite sure he was exactly knowing where he was. Just hate to ever error on the wrong side of something like that. We’ll keep an eye on him tonight but the training staff thinks he’s going to be okay.”
The Indians and Orioles will pick up where they left off on Saturday night in game two of the three-game weekend set. Josh Tomlin (10-2, 3.34) will start for Francona and the Tribe, while the Orioles will send out Kevin Gausman (1-7, 4.05).
First pitch from Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.
Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images