The Baltimore Orioles will go for a season-best fourth straight win when they host the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.
Baltimore, which lost 14 games to end May, has won three in a row to open June. It marks its third three-game streak of the season.
Orioles left-hander John Means (4-1, 2.05 ERA) opposes Indians right-hander Aaron Civale (7-2, 3.28) in the second of a three-game series.
Means will be starting on the one-month anniversary of his May 5 no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners. He is winless since despite pitching well in three of his four starts, compiling a 3.33 earned run average.
Last time out, Means gave up three runs on five hits over five innings in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. It was the first time since April 13 that he failed to pitch at least six innings.
“I was really hoping to pitch better to get the win,” Means said. “I should’ve pitched better, but couldn’t get it done today, and I’ll just try to do it next time.”
Means is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two career starts against the Indians.
Civale, tied for the American League lead in wins, took a loss in his last start after getting touched for four runs on 10 hits over six innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. He gave up a pair of home runs in the fourth inning.
“Definitely mistakes on my part and they made me pay,” Civale said. “That’s what happens when you’re playing in the big leagues.”
Civale has given up three earned runs or fewer in eight of his 11 starts. He has never faced the Orioles.
In the series opener, Ryan Mountcastle hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Orioles rallied for a 3-1 win. It was Mountcastle’s seventh homer of the season and third in his past four games.
Mountcastle hit .333 in 35 games as a rookie last season. This year, he was hitting .198 at the end of April, but has gotten hot of late. Over his past 10 games he is hitting .314 with 11 RBIs, raising his season average to .238.
“It’s early still and I’m trying to get some confidence up there, and then I’m going to try to do my thing,” Mountcastle said. “Right now, I’m feeling pretty good, and I am going to try to keep it rolling.”
Mountcastle’s homer survived a review after left fielder Eddie Rosario’s glove appeared to collide with fans as he attempted to make a catch.
Harold Ramirez tripled home the only run of the game for the Indians, who had won three of four.
It was a rare home run against Indians reliever Bryan Shaw, who entered the game with a 1.25 ERA. He last surrendered a homer on April 9 and had allowed only three runs in 23 appearances, but Mountcastle connected with a 1-2 slider.
“We wanted it away off the plate, but obviously didn’t get it there,” Shaw said. “It was still a decent pitch down, just kind of right where he was at, right where he wanted it, obviously. Obviously if it’s three inches farther out, it’s either a swing and miss or a popup.”
–Field Level Media