BALTIMORE (AP) — Coming off successive lopsided defeats to the lowly Baltimore Orioles, the Cleveland Indians turned to Shane Bieber to pull the team out of its inexplicable collapse.
Bieber did his part, restoring the pecking order between the two teams with a brilliant pitching effort that provided Cleveland with a 2-0 victory Sunday.
Following identical 13-0 losses to the team with the worst record in the majors, the Indians turned it around behind Bieber (7-3). The left-hander gave up three hits and struck out 11 over eight sparkling innings. He did not issue a walk, retired 12 straight at one point and permitted only one runner past first base.
“Obviously it’s a long season, so we’re not trying to stress too much about two games,” Bieber said. “We’re just looking at what’s in front of us. That’s what we did today, and we got one win.”
It was a suitable encore to his previous start against the Orioles, when Bieber struck out 15 on May 19 in his first career shutout.
“Obviously, we have a real hard time with him. He’s really impressive,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Just faced a really good pitcher today who kind of carved us up.”
Brad Hand gave up two singles and a two-out walk to load the bases in the ninth before striking out Anthony Santander for his 23rd save.
Oscar Mercado hit two doubles and scored twice on singles by Santana, who has reached base in 24 straight games and 42 of the past 43. Cleveland’s leader in home runs (18) and RBIs (50), Santana was announced Sunday as a participant in the Home Run Derby on July 8.
The Indians came to Camden Yards riding a 10-3 hot streak, then were blown out twice. Cleveland rebounded with a shutout of its own to end its first losing streak since May 30-31 and win the season series 4-3.
Orioles starter Gabriel Ynoa (0-6) gave up one run and six hits over 5 1/3 innings.
“I was aggressive going toward home plate and I was able to execute my pitches today,” Ynoa said.
Three of those hits came in the third, when the Mercado-Santana combination clicked to end the Indians’ run of scoreless innings at 20.
Baltimore was denied its first sweep of the season, and its two-game winning streak — the longest since early May — was snapped.
Former Orioles pitcher and soon-to-be Hall of Fame member Mike Mussina threw out the ceremonial first pitch, tossing a strike to Hyde. Many in the crowd yelled “Moose!” as Mussina walked to the mound, although a few might have been booing because he left the Orioles after the 2000 season to join the Yankees as a free agent. Mussina will be inducted on July 21. “This is the Mount Everest of baseball, and I get to be a part of it,” Mussina said.
Indians 3B José Ramírez was activated from the paternity list after missing two days to be with his new daughter. “Asked him about the baby and his eyes got this big,” manager Terry Francona said, spreading his hands about two feet apart. Yu Chang, who made his big league debut on Friday night, was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
Indians: LF Jake Bauers got his foot caught under the wall in the fifth inning. He stayed in, but left for a pinch hitter in the sixth when Baltimore brought in a lefty. “He said he’s OK,” Francona said.
Orioles: DH/OF Mark Trumbo, who has yet to play this year after undergoing offseason knee surgery, did some hitting Sunday. “He’s improving every day,” Hyde said, but did not set a timetable for the veteran’s next rehab assignment. … RHP Josh Lucas (shoulder strain) threw in the bullpen Sunday and is expected to come off the injured list in the next few days. … LHP Josh Rogers will see a specialist Tuesday for a second opinion on the elbow injury that landed him on the IL on Wednesday.
Indians: After taking Monday off, the Indians send Trevor Bauer (6-6, 3.55 ERA) to the mound in the opener of a three-game set at Kansas City.
Orioles: On the road until the All-Star break, Baltimore faces Tampa Bay on Monday night. Hyde did not disclose his starter for the series opener.
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