Clevinger came off the injured list for the second time in 12 days Friday night at Camden Yards only to allow seven runs in the first two innings as the Indians were run over by the last-place Orioles, 13-0, at Camden Yards.
In matching the shortest start of his career, Clevinger allowed seven runs on nine hits in 1 2/3 innings. Clevinger was 4-0 against the Orioles before Friday.
Clevinger and Baltimore starter John Means came off the injured this for this start. Clevinger was recovering from a sprained left ankle and Means a sore left shoulder. Means, staked to a big early lead, looked the healthier of the two.
Baltimore’s 13 runs were the most the Indians have allowed this season.
“Stuff was terrific, he just looked like he was a little too amped up,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Clevinger. “Even his delivery, he was rushing through everything. The ball was coming out great, just not locating it where he wanted to.
“He had deep counts and really paid the price,” he added. “The good side of it is he looks extremely healthy. With repetition with side days and working, he’ll be fine.”
Means (7-4, 2.50) held the Indians to one hit over five innings. He struck out five and walked one.
“We saw him at our place (last month, and he’s as advertised,” Francona said of Means. “Once he got a big lead, we just kept trying to get everything back with one swing.”
Clevinger (1-2, 5.89) has made three starts since April 7. After his April 7th start, he went on the injured list with a strained muscle in his upper back. He made his second on June 17 and was placed on the IL after that because of a sprained left ankle.
The Indians came into Friday’s game on a roll. The Orioles were rolling the other way.
The Tribe had won seven of its last 10 games and 15 of its last 21. They were sporting a 16-7 record in June.
The Orioles had lost nine of their last 10 games and trailed the Yankees by 30 games in the AL East.
But Baltimore jumped the Indians hard and fast. They scored four two-out runs in the first off Clevinger. The big hit came off the bat of Chance Sisco, who hit a two-run homer on Eutaw Street behind the right field wall. It was the 99th Eutaw Street homer hit since Camden Yards opened in 1992.
Hanser Alberto added a two-run double before Clevinger could end the first.
Former Tribe farmhand Anthony Santander, lost to the Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft in 2016, hit a two-run homer off Tyler Olson in the second to make it 8-0. Santander was the first batter Olson faced after relieving Clevinger.
Rookie center fielder Oscar Mercado was one okf the few bright spots for the Tribe. He stole a home run from Cisco in the fourth as he stretched above the center field fence for a nice catch. In the sixth, he doubled for the Tribe’s only extra base hit of the night.
“Great catch by an athletic kid,” Francona said. “He’ll make a mistake, but he’s not putting his head down and he’s learning. You love a lot of what he does.”
Clevinger wasn’t the only Tribe pitcher left battered and bruised by the Orioles. Adam Plutko, who has been moved to the bullpen because the Indians will need only four starters between now and the All-Star break, allowed five runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. The Orioles reached him for four runs in the eighth.
“I told him when I took him out those last runs were on me,” Francona said of Plutko. “He was exhausted, and I shouldn’t have let him go that far. He did a terrific job. I felt terrible there. I didn’t want to use another pitcher, but he just couldn’t get that last out and I felt awful about that.”
It was the Orioles third four-run inning of the game.
Rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (3-2, 2.33) will face the Orioles for the first time in a 4:10 p.m. start on Saturday. The Orioles will send RHP Andrew Cashner (7-3, 4.37) to the mound.
Plesac is coming off a win against the Tigers, allowing one run in seven innings. Cashner, pitching well of late, is 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in three career starts against the Tribe. Francisco Lindor is hitting .400 (4-for-10) with two RBIs against Cashner.