Another empty day for the Orioles bats meant another win for the Cleveland Indians, whose 4-2 victory Saturday at Progressive Field was their 17th straight and dropped the Orioles back to .500 at 71-71.
Over their current three-game skid, the Orioles’ league-leading offense in the second half has gone quiet.
Even with a passable starting pitching performance from fill-in Gabriel Ynoa, the Orioles couldn't muster more early offense than their solitary run in the first inning and then couldn't stir much else up against the American League’s best pitching staff.
“What have we scored, three runs in three days?” manager Buck Showalter said. “That's tough. A real tribute to them, but we've got to find a way.”
“They’re a heck of a team, man, and they’re not missing a beat in any category,” shortstop Tim Beckham said. “They have everything they need to win ballgames. Days like today, you’ve just got to grind it out. You’re playing a team like this, you just go out and compete and give it your all when you’re out there and don’t waste any ABs.
Making his first start with the Orioles and just his sixth appearance with the club, Ynoa (1-1) gave them their strongest start in a week.
“He gave us a chance,” Showalter said.
The 25-year-old right-hander retired the first seven batters he faced before catcher Yan Gomes singled and scored on a long double off the center-field wall by No. 9 hitter Giovanny Urshela to tie the game, 1-1, in the third. A second run came in the fourth when first baseman Carlos Santana doubled to open the inning and scored on a single by right fielder Jay Bruce.
Santana added an RBI double that chased Ynoa with two outs in the fifth, but even with three runs in on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, he still had the best start for an Orioles pitcher since Wade Miley's quality start last Saturday.
Ynoa said through interpreter Ramón Alarcón that his breaking ball was working particularly well early in the game, and he tried to use it to get quick outs.
“I was just concentrating on beating them, trying to give my best effort,” Ynoa said. “Things didn't work out, but I just tried to control what I can control.”
Behind Ynoa, the Orioles got 3 1/3 innings of one-run relief from Mychal Givens, Darren O'Day, Donnie Hart and Brad Brach, with the only blemish coming on a solo home run by shortstop Francisco Lindor off O'Day.
After managing just four hits in Friday night's loss, the Orioles nearly matched that during their first inning. Third baseman Manny Machado singled with one out, went to third base on a single by center fielder Adam Jones and scored on an infield single by rookie Trey Mancini.
That run marked the first time the Indians (86-56) didn't score first during their winning streak, though their deficit only lasted two innings. The Orioles didn't have another hit until the sixth inning. After a solo home run by Beckham to open that frame and a two-out single by Jones in the sixth, the Indians retired the last 10 Orioles batters in a row.
Beckham blasts No. 20
Beckham was acquired by the Orioles on July 31 with 12 home runs this season, and after his home run to lead off the sixth inning Saturday, he's liable to match that in the final two months of the season.
His towering 410-foot blast into the wind was his eighth in 37 games since coming to Baltimore, giving him an even 20 on the season. He was the 94th player to reach the 20-home run mark this year, including the seventh on the Orioles.
“I’ve stuck with my same approach,” Beckham said. “I wasn’t swinging the bat bad when I was in Tampa, so I just kept the same approach and trust the routine, and I just want to go out and compete every day.”