Deja vu? Orioles top Indians 13-0 (again)

Cashner tosses seven scoreless innings on O's record-setting day

June 30th, 2019

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles’ clubhouse message after Friday’s pummeling of the Indians -- preached with music blaring in the background and the winning pitcher wearing the day’s floppy hat giveaway during interviews -- was simple: winning is fun. Five seconds in the clubhouse made that clear.

But for the 2019 Orioles, it hasn’t been a mood easy to come by.

Until Saturday, that is, when Baltimore handled the Indians, yet again, by a score of 13-0, yet again, at Camden Yards for their first consecutive wins since May 4 and 6 -- albeit those came with a postponement in between -- and their first series win since topping the White Sox, April 22-24.

In a five-series span starting on May 27, the Orioles won the first game in four matchups before dropping the next two. Since then, Baltimore entered this weekend having scored three or fewer runs in eight of its past 12 games.

That’s a distant memory now, after outscoring the Indians 26-0 across 18 innings Friday and Saturday.

“It starts with starting pitching, there’s no doubt about it,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Saturday's output -- which more than backed up ’s seven innings of scoreless baseball -- made the Orioles the first team ever to put together back-to-back shutouts while scoring at least 13 runs along the way in each, according to Elias.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Cashner said. “I don’t know how many runs we’ve scored over the past two days.”

“They beat the [heck] out of us,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “They hit better than us. They played better than us. They pitched better than us. And they managed better than me.”

For Cashner, it was a lights-out performance only after his start was thrust into confusion earlier in the day. At 3:34 p.m. ET, in the lead-up to what would become a one-hour, six-minute rain delay, the Orioles announced Shawn Armstrong would replace Cashner as Saturday’s starter. With clouds breaking apart an hour and 11 minutes later, Cashner was reaffirmed as the day’s starting pitcher.

It was a precautionary move done to try and utilize Cashner to his highest potential. If there was no first pitch delay, Armstrong would have pitched until the rain came and Cashner would have most likely taken the mound when it cleared.

That scenario never took place -- “Thank God the weather came when it did,” Cashner said -- and what the Orioles eventually got from their veteran was his best start of the year.

Efficient and effective, the potential trade chip did not allow a baserunner until there were two outs in the fourth. His changeup -- of which he threw 40 on Saturday, while just 24.2 percent of his pitches this year entering have been changeups -- was lethal against the five lefties and two switch-hitters in the Cleveland starting nine, inducing seven swinging strikes and resulting in 16 of his 21 outs.

“I thought it was one of the best changeups I’ve had all season,” Cashner said.

"We lined up all those lefties and with that changeup, he got comfortable,” Francona said. “He pitched a really good game. That was a concern going in."

Apart from a blister making him miss a turn in the rotation, the month of June has been Cashner’s best, using four starts to bring his ERA down to 4.03 after starting the month at 5.91.

Saturday, Cashner was backed by four homers -- all of which came from players 25 years and younger. They came in the form of a pair from -- who had a career-high four RBIs on the day -- one from and one from . The latter two, who were placed back-to-back in the lineup on Friday and Saturday, have totaled four homers and 12 RBIs on the weekend so far.

“I feel like, for the most part, we are a fun team to watch, even if our record doesn’t show it,” Hyde said. “We have some exciting young players that play hard every night, that are growing in the big leagues and gaining experience, and I feel we play fun baseball to watch.”

Santander's blast in the fourth was the 100th to reach Eutaw Street after Sisco’s 99th on Friday landed in a trash can adjacent to the warehouse. Santander pulled his hands in and turned a 92.9 mph fastball low in the zone sending it 410 feet to right.

“That’s Major League batting,” Hyde said.

It helped provide more than enough cushion for ’s four punchouts in the final two innings, with a fastball that maxed out at 97.4 mph.

“That’s Major League backend stuff,” Hyde said.

Even if for just a moment, the Orioles are playing Major League baseball. And they’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts.