BALTIMORE (AP) — Ryan Mountcastle hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning that was upheld by video review and the Baltimore Orioles kept up their June winning streak, defeating the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Friday night.
The Orioles have won their first three games this month after dropping 14 in a row to end May. Baltimore’s winning string matches its longest of the season.
Cleveland had won three of four and fell to 20-2 when leading after six innings.
Baltimore had mustered just one hit in 6 1/3 innings against four Indians pitchers before Mountcastle stepped in with a runner on base against Bryan Shaw (1-1).
Mountcastle lofted a fly to left-center that bounced off a fan just beyond the reach of leaping left fielder Eddie Rosario. An umpire review ruled Mountcastle’s seventh homer of the year — and the Orioles’ 2-1 lead — stood.
“When I hit it, I couldn’t tell whether it hit off his glove and came back or hit off the fan,” Mountcastle said. “But I watched a replay and I was pretty sure they were going to keep it a home run, but you never know. I was a little nervous, but it did stand and I was pretty pumped about it.”
Cleveland manager Terry Francona believed a fan in the front row got in the way of Rosario’s attempt to make a catch.
“We have one view (in the ballpark), and it looked to me like interference,” Francona said. “I know they have multiple views, but it looked to me like Eddie went straight up and definitely got hindered.”
It was Mountcastle’s third homer in four games. He had four in his first 48 games this season.
“I’ve been working on different stuff, trying to stay through the ball and trying not to do too much out there,” Mountcastle said. “It’s early still. I’m just trying to get some confidence up there and do my thing.”
Baltimore added an insurance run on Anthony Santander’s sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Cole Sulser (2-0) worked the seventh, Tanner Scott struck out the side in the eighth and Paul Fry handled the ninth for his second save.
“It was fun to watch our bullpen tonight,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Our pitching tonight — one walk, 10 punchouts. It was really well-pitched by us.”
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the sixth against reliever Hunter Harvey, who was making his season debut after being activated from the 60-day injured list earlier in the day. José Ramírez singled with one out and then scored on Harold Ramirez’s triple off the base of the fence in right-center.
Baltimore lefty Keegan Akin went a season-high five innings, striking out four while not surrendering a run.
“You hear me say it so often: You like to score enough where a mistake doesn’t beat you, and that’s what happened tonight,” Francona said.
Cleveland’s J.C. Mejía went three shutout innings in his first major league start, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two.
Orioles: Baltimore placed INF Pat Valaika on the bereavement list. … The Orioles designated RHP Shawn Armstrong and LHP Brandon Waddell for assignment, recalled RHP Travis Lakins Sr. and INF Ramón Urías from Triple-A Norfolk and claimed INF Domingo Leyba on outright waivers from Arizona and optioned him to Norfolk. Armstrong was 0-0 with an 8.55 ERA in 20 games, while Waddell pitched one scoreless inning for the Orioles.
Francona said he planned to talk to the Indians’ staff before Friday’s game after the Chicago White Sox’s TV broadcast crew pointed out video of RHP James Karinchak reaching into his glove during Tuesday’s game.
“Just to make sure we stay ahead of what we need to stay ahead of,” Francona said. “James has so many gyrations out there that he reaches in without even knowing it. We did talk to him and kind of alerted him, ‘Hey, this was out there and we wanted you to know it,’ because we don’t want our guys to get in trouble. We want to play the game the right way.”
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (7-2, 3.28 ERA), who shares the American League’s victories lead with Chicago’s Lance Lynn and Oakland’s Yusmeiro Petit, faces Baltimore for the first time in his career.
Orioles: LHP John Means (4-1, 2.05) is winless in four starts since no-hitting Seattle on May 5 but has a 3.33 ERA in that span.
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