Encarnacion, Clevinger guide Indians to 16th straight win
CLEVELAND — Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter had no choice but to tip his cap.
“I thought we pitched pretty well, but they’ve got another level going on the way they’re pitching,” said Showalter, after his team became the latest victim in the Cleveland Indians historic winning streak.
Edwin Encarnacion belted a three-run home run in the first inning, while Mike Clevinger pitched six scoreless innings and combined with three relievers on a four-hit shutout as the Indians won their team-record 16th game in a row, beating the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 on Friday night at Progressive Field.
“They have such a good lineup over there, but Clev made some really good pitches. He really pitched, and stayed down with everything,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
During their winning streak, the Indians have outscored their opponents 114-28. It’s Cleveland’s fifth shutout during the winning streak, and their major league-high 17th shutout of the season. That’s the most shutouts in a season by an Indians team in 41 years.
Indians pitchers have held the opposition to two runs or fewer in 12 of the 16 games.
Clevinger (9-5) gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked three.
In his last three starts he is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, the first Indians pitcher to pitch six or more scoreless innings in three consecutive starts since John Denny in 1981.
In their 16-game winning streak Indians starting pitchers are 14-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
“We’re feeding off the energy of each previous outing and it’s fun,” Clevinger said. “I feel like it’s more so just the standards get set and the bar gets higher and higher and then you try to meet that bar each time you go out there.”
Baltimore starter Wade Miley (8-12) gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in taking the loss. The Orioles began the night two games behind Minnesota for the second wild card spot in the American League.
“I did everything in my power to get deep in the game, but they’ve won 16 in a row. They’ve got a good thing going over there. They’re playing with a lot of confidence,” Miley said.
The Indians scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back. During their streak, they have outscored the opposition in the first three innings 56-11.
Leading 3-0, the Indians added a run in the sixth inning when they knocked Miley out of the game.
Yandy Diaz led off with a double, and two outs later Carlos Santana floated a fly ball down the right field line that bounced on the foul line for an RBI double, giving Cleveland a 4-0 lead.
That hit knocked Miley out of the game. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
The Indians made it 5-0 with another run in the seventh inning when Francisco Lindor scored on a wild pitch by reliever Miguel Castro.
Cleveland wasted no time in taking an early lead. In the first inning, Austin Jackson reached first base after grounding into a force out at second. Diaz singled to right, moving Jackson to second.
Encarnacion then belted a three-run shot over the center field wall for his 34th homer of the year, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead. It marked the second consecutive game Encarnacion has hit a three-run home run in the first inning.
“I don’t think there is ever going to be a moment where he hits the ball where it’s not a wow every time it goes over that fence,” Clevinger said. “There is so much power and force that he brings to the plate it’s almost scary.”
It was the 21st home run of the year allowed by Miley.
“I made a couple mistakes early and it cost us the game. It put us behind the eight ball,” Miley said.
NOTES: Indians LHP Andrew Miller threw off a mound in the bullpen and off the mound on the field, and is getting closer to a simulated game. Miller has been on the DL for all but three days since Aug. 2 with tendinitis in his right knee. ... 2B Jose Ramirez, who sat out his second straight game with a sore right wrist, is expected to be back in the lineup Saturday. ... The Orioles activated SS J.J. Hardy from the disabled list. Hardy had been on the DL since June 19 with a right wrist fracture. ... Orioles C Wellington Castillo was a late scratch from the starting lineup. No immediate explanation was given for the scratch. He was replaced by C Caleb Joseph.