By Jordan Bastian and Ryan Baillargeon
BALTIMORE -- The first-place Orioles have spent the past two nights showing off their power against the Indians' highly touted pitching staff. In a 5-2 win over the Tribe on Saturday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Mark Trumbo became the first Major Leaguer to reach 30 home runs, backing up a stellar performance by right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Orioles closer Zach Britton recorded the final out to notch his American League-leading 32nd save of the season.
Trumbo launched a two-run shot in the first inning off Indians starter Josh Tomlin, giving Gausman an early lead that he used to his advantage. The Orioles' right-hander spun seven shutout innings, subduing Cleveland's lineup whenever runners reached base. Gausman struck out seven and scattered four hits in the win.
"I'm happy that he got a return for a really good outing," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It didn't matter if we scored three runs in the first inning or not, he had the same look on his face every inning. That's a good-hitting team over there, and that makes it doubly impressive."
It marked the second homer in as many nights for Trumbo, who has seven blasts over his past 16 games for Baltimore.
Following Trumbo's homer, Tomlin quieted Baltimore's bats for the next five innings, but his effort went for naught in light of the Tribe's lack of offense. Tomlin, who recorded eight strikeouts and four runs allowed in six-plus frames, flinched again in the seventh against Pedro Alvarez. The designated hitter belted a solo homer into the right-field seats with an exit velocity of 112 mph, per Statcast™.
"I made a couple mistakes in the first inning and then the other mistake to Alvarez," Tomlin said. "You make mistakes to those type of guys and they can put crooked numbers on you in a hurry. That's what ended up costing us the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Striking first: Trumbo helped Baltimore to a quick lead on Friday night with a three-run homer off Indians starter Trevor Bauer. The Orioles' slugger followed suit on Saturday, ripping a 1-1 pitch from Tomlin into the left-field stands for a two-run blast. The two-out homer came one at-bat after Cleveland could not turn a double play on a 4-6 fielder's choice grounder by Chris Davis.
"For a guy we were all about talking about how he does this in July, does this in June, does this in April; it's almost August," Showalter said of Trumbo. "So he's putting together a year worthy of a lot of consideration." More >
On his own: While Gausman entered Saturday's start with a 1-7 record, he had pitched better than that mark indicated. A lack of run support had cost him in a number of games, but he didn't need much Saturday. Gausman's only win prior to Saturday came with 7 2/3 scoreless innings on June 25 against the Rays, and he took matters into his own hands again with seven shutout innings to secure his second victory.
"It's always good," Gausman said of adding a win to his record. "But it's more important that we won this series. That's a very good team that we are playing. … Any time you beat a team in the American League, especially a team that is leading their division, it's huge." More >
Runners on, offense off: The Indians had their chances against Gausman, but they could not capitalize on a few opportune situations. Baltimore's right-hander generated a pair of inning-ending double plays, three double plays in all. On the night, Cleveland's offense finished 0-for-9 with runners on against the Orioles' starter. The Indians did not break through until the ninth, when Lonnie Chisenhall came through with a two-run, two-out double off Brad Brach.
"He pitched a good game," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said of Gausman. "They really located their changeups well the last two games. I think we do a good job on mistakes, if they miss it. They didn't miss too many. You tip the cap, and you move on to this last game."
Alvarez adds insurance The Orioles' bats went quiet after Trumbo's first-inning blast until Alvarez stepped to the plate to lead off the seventh. Alvarez demolished an 0-1 cutter from Tomlin to deep right-center field. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled an estimated 449 feet and likely would've landed on Eutaw Street had it not hit a brick pillar. Alvarez has homered in three of the seven games he has played in since the All-Star break.
"I thought Davis got down the line, and it ended up getting them three runs. We had a chance for a double play and just because he busted it down the line, they got one, and then they got a chance for Trumbo to hit." -- Indians manager Terry Francona, on Baltimore's first inning
"You can't look at his record because his stuff is tremendous. If you look at his peripheral numbers, they're good. He's got plenty of fastball, and he's got, whether you want to call it a split or a change, and then he can finish you with a fastball." --Francona, on Gausman
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Britton's 32nd consecutive save to start the year tied him with Willie Hernandez (1984) for the most ever by a lefty to begin a season.
After the third inning, the game went into a short rain delay as a brief shower covered Camden Yards. The delay lasted just 14 minutes as the grounds crew pulled the tarp off just moments after rolling it out.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Corey Kluber (9-8, 3.42 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe in a 1:35 p.m. ET clash with the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards, wrapping up Cleveland's 10-day road trip. Kluber spun seven shutout innings in his last start, has allowed one run over his past 15 innings and has a 2.44 ERA in his last eight turns for the Indians.
Orioles: Righty Vance Worley (2-1, 3.16 ERA) will make his second straight start for the O's after serving primarily as a long reliever this season. In his last start on Tuesday against the Yankees, he allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings. During a relief appearance against the Indians on May 28, he held Cleveland to two runs (one earned) over 4 1/3 frames.