BALTIMORE –- No one likes to play doubleheaders, Buck Showalter says. If the Orioles have to play two, the outcome couldn’t be any better than Sunday.
The Orioles not only swept the Cleveland Indians, they recorded shutouts in both games of the day/night doubleheader. The 4-0 win in the afternoon game and the 8-0 win in the night game were the first doubleheader shutouts by the Orioles since Sept. 6, 1974 in Cleveland, according to STATS.
Many of the 40,006 who came to Oriole Park on Sunday night were there to collect Buck Showalter Garden Gnomes.
They saw Chris Tillman allow just four hits in seven innings. Tillman bounced back from a horrible start in Toronto a week ago when he recorded just four outs and was charged with six runs.
Tillman and the first game starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, combined to throw 15 shutout innings, allowing eight hits, striking out 13 without a walk.
Showalter, who has tried to ignore the publicity surrounding the gnome, conceded that managing was better when starting pitching is that dominant.
“It's a lot easier. I don't take for granted how hard that is.” Showalter said.
T.J. McFarland, who served as the 26th man in the second game and was returned to Norfolk after the game, pitched two scoreless innings to finish the shutout.
The Orioles (41-34) have won four straight and are 18-4 since June 4.
Toru Murata, recalled to serve as the 26th man for the second game retired the first five Orioles hitters before Travis Snider reached on an error by second baseman Jason Kipnis. J.J. Hardy doubled, and both scored when Ryan Flaherty slapped a single to right field.
Chris Davis hit his 16th home run to lead off the fourth, and with one out Travis Snider hit his third for a 4-0 lead.
After Murata (0-1) walked J.J. Hardy, Marc Rzepczynski walked David Lough with two outs, and former Orioles reliever Ryan Webb served up a two-run double to Manny Machado and a two-run home run by Chris Parmelee for an 8-0 lead.
Snider also starred with the glove, robbing Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor with a sensational, sprawling catch for the second out of the sixth inning. He punctuated the catch by thrusting his glove in the air.
“I feel bad for the left center field grass,” Snider said. “I think I was the most surprised person in the stadium that I caught the ball, so I had to kind of soak it in for a second, make sure it was still in there.”
After the third out, Tillman waited on the field to publicly congratulate him.
“It was awesome, it really was. I was trying let him enjoy that standing O he got, but given the circumstances of the game, these guys had a rough go of it, I want to get back on the mound and show respect to the other team. I talked to him about it. It was fun, it really was fun to watch. He was pumped up about it, and I think all of us were,” Tillman said.
Cleveland is 33-41.
Jimenez (7-3) has won four straight starts and for the only time in his two seasons with the Orioles Jimenez allowed neither a run nor a walk, and it equaled his deepest start with the team.
Jimmy Paredes, who had his fifth straight multi-hit game, hit a two-run home run off Trevor Bauer (6-5) in the third, his ninth of the season.
In the sixth, Machado hit his 15th home run, and the Orioles scored on doubles by Paredes and Davis.
The Orioles move into first place by two percentage points over Tampa Bay for the first time since the season’s early days.
“It's a return for that (good play) but it can be very fleeting. The only thing I look at is the loss column every now and then. I don't pay much attention to the other part of it. See if you can stay engaged and roll the dice in September,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Machado has hit in 10 straight. … Indians manager Terry Francona was ejected in the ninth inning of the second game. … The first game was the 5,000th win in Orioles history. … The Orioles recorded their third sellout of the season in the afternoon game, 45,675… … Adam Jones, who started in center field in the first game for the first time since June 15, didn’t play in the second game. … The Orioles have won seven of their last eight series. They split the other series. … Jimenez has won four straight games for the first time since he won seven straight from May 15-June 17, 2010. …The Orioles open a four-game series with Texas on Monday. Wandy Rodriguez (4-3, 4.06) faces Bud Norris (2-6, 6.70).