For the majority of the first half of the Orioles’ season, it has been rare for their bats to be hot at the same time as their pitchers. On Friday night, everything came together in a 13-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.
The Orioles won for just the second time in 15 games as John Means pitched five shutout innings and catcher Chance Sisco drove in five runs with three hits.
“We have not had many of these,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We were definitely due for one.”
Means, who missed one start with a left shoulder strain, held the Indians to one hit and lowered his ERA to 2.50. He would rank third in the American League, but he is 5 ⅓ innings short of qualifying.
“I do feel like he's pitching like an All-Star pitcher, and he's giving us All-Star starts,” Hyde said. “Tonight, he really, really located well, and did a great job.”
The Orioles took Means, who averaged 92.4 mph on his fastball, out after 84 pitches. Means said after the game that he was worried at first, but he was feeling fine even after some of the longer innings.
Means’ shutout performance was matched by the hitting. The Orioles more than tripled their average of four runs per game as everyone in the lineup recorded at least one hit. Sisco and right fielder Anthony Santander had three hits apiece and combined for nine RBIs.
“[Andrew Cashner] was giving me crap last game that I was supposed to pitch, that I missed, we scored nine runs,” Means said with a smile and an Orioles floppy hat perched on his head. “I was glad that I came back out tonight and I got eight runs of support in the first three innings.”
In the first inning, Sisco hit a two-out home run to Eutaw Street, the 99th in Camden Yards history.
“Chance just juiced that first ball,” Hyde said.
Santander, who had three hits and drove in four runs, and third baseman Rio Ruiz walked with two outs, and Hanser Alberto brought them in with a double.
The Orioles had a 4-0 lead to start the game, and Means pitched a hitless inning to preserve it.
Ahead by four, the Orioles batters were able to settle in and continue producing hits.
“It's relaxing for sure,” Sisco said. “You get a big lead like that, you go out there and have fun the rest of the game.”
To open the bottom of the second, center fielder Stevie Wilkerson hit a ground-rule double. Jonathan Villar followed with a bunt single, which advanced Wilkerson to third, allowing him to come home when left-fielder Dwight Smith Jr. hit a sacrifice fly.
When Sisco came up for his second at-bat, he brought Villar in with an RBI single.
Down 6-0, the Indians made a pitching change, bringing in Tyler Olson. Santander promptly hit a fastball out of the park, bringing Sisco in for an 8-0 lead.
Although the Orioles did not score again for the next five innings, the combined effort of Means and right-hander Branden Kline kept the Indians from making a comeback.
Kline gave up three hits and a walk, but no runs, lowering his ERA from 6.17 to 5.68.
In the seventh, the offense picked up again when singles by Mancini, Santander and Ruiz made it 9-0.
Left-handed pitcher Paul Fry continued the solid pitching performance by striking out two and giving up just one hit in the eighth.
Sisco came to the plate with two outs again and hit a double, scoring Wilkerson and Villar. Santander then brought Smith Jr. and Sisco in with a double.