Cleveland was supposed to face Baltimore starting pitcher John Means but ended up squaring off against a familiar face Saturday evening, tagging Adam Plutko for five runs in the third inning to build a big lead they’d never relinquish in a 10-4 rout of the Orioles.
Means didn’t even make it out of the first inning. He surrendered a leadoff home run to Cesar Hernandez before recording two outs. But after a Harold Ramirez solo shot and a single by Eddie Rosario, Means called for the trainer and exited the game with shoulder fatigue.
Plutko entered the game for the Orioles and managed to hold serve until the third inning, when the top of Cleveland’s lineup sentenced him to death by a thousand cuts. With one out, Amed Rosario got things started by reaching on an error by the second baseman, before José Ramírez dropped a bloop single just inside the field of play in left. Back-to-back singles by Harold Ramirez and Eddie Rosario plated a pair of runs, extending their lead to 4-1. But the exclamation point came courtesy of Yu Chang, who launched a three-run homer to straight-away center field.
Yu Chang has family in attendance at Camden Yards, and they waved a Taiwanese flag as he trotted around the bases following his first home run of the season.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 5, 2021
Once Baltimore pulled the plug on Plutko, Cleveland’s bats quieted down, but they were able to add a couple insurance runs. Against Travis Lakins in the fifth inning, Harold Ramirez singled, advanced to third on an Eddie Rosario ground rule double, and then scored on a passed ball. Then in the sixth, with César Valdez on the mound, Amed Rosario delivered a two-out RBI single to score Austin Hedges from second, giving Cleveland their ninth run of the game.
Bobby Bradley, fresh off the bus from Columbus, replaced Chang in the eighth inning and grounded a leadoff double through the shift in right field. With two outs, Cesar Hernandez singled up the middle to bring him home, bringing Cleveland’s run total to an even ten.
It was a big game for Harold Ramirez and Eddie Rosario, each of whom had three hits. Harold, in particular, continues to smoke the ball, clocking a 102.8 mph exit velocity on his first inning home run and 108.2 mph on his single in the fifth inning. One player who is not smoking the ball is Owen Miller, who has struggled to get comfortable at the plate. He was 0-for-4 in this game, striking out three times. The rookie is mired in a 1-for-20 slump during this stretch.
On the mound for Cleveland, Aaron Civale was okay. He labored through six innings, as his command wasn’t quite as sharp and the Orioles seemed to take a more disciplined approach the second and third times through the order. Baltimore rarely swung and missed, whiffing only seven times and four of those whiffs were against his cutter. His secondary pitches just didn’t seem to be as effective and as a result the Orioles were able to sit on his fastball, slugging a pair of home runs off his four-seamer and one off his sinker. Civale hit the showers after the sixth inning having given up seven hits and four earned runs, walking none and striking out four.
Blake Parker, called up from Triple-A to provide reinforcements in the bullpen, did his best to make a game of it in the eighth inning, loading the bases with no outs. He managed to strike out D.J. Stewart and induce an infield pop fly from Maikel Franco before giving way to James Karinchak, who secured a fielder’s choice for the final out of the inning.
Emmanuel Clase pitched a scoreless ninth inning to end the game.