Means holds Guardians hitless into 7th, Orioles win 2-1

Santander drives in both runs for O's; Guardians will finish under .500
Sep 23, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means (47) delivers a pitch in the third inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Photo credit © David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND - John Means took a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the Baltimore Orioles in the visitors’ 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Guardians in Saturday night’s penultimate series game at Progressive Field.

The left-handed Means (1-1) stifled the Guardians for six and two-thirds innings, in which he struck out four hitters while drawing a walk to Myles Straw. Means’s no-hit bid ended in the bottom of the 7th when Andrés Giménez hit a solo home run to cut the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. However, the Guardians failed to capitalize against the O’s bullpen, which had twice fallen victim to Cleveland rallies in the series.

“I thought his fastball had some sneakiness to it,” Guardians manager Terry Francona stated after the game. “And he threw his changeup to both lefties and righties, which you don’t see [thrown effectively a lot]…It kind of puts you in a rocking chair back and forth.”

Anthony Santander drove in both of Baltimore’s runs for the game, on a 1st-inning double off Guardians starter Cal Quantrill (3-7), and a 6th-inning single off reliever Xzavion Curry.

“Tried too hard to make that pitch work,” said Quantrill. “Probably should have adjusted earlier. Just felt like I kept putting myself in dangerous situations, wanting to go to that pitch.

The right-hander later added: “Efficiency has been a kind of calling card for me. Today, I just didn’t do a very good job of it.”

Quantrill’s pitch count racked up early, limiting him to a four-inning outing in which he threw 93 pitches. Quantrill allowed four hits and the earned run while striking out three a walking a batter.

“He wasn’t commanding his fastball, so he was just trying to do anything he could to wiggle out of those innings,” Francona said about Quantrill. “To his credit, he did. It was just really hard.”

The Guardians also encountered an injury scare, as Gabriel Arias left the game with a left wrist contusion. However, Francona affirmed that Arias would be okay: “Just a bruise. He’ll be a little sore tomorrow, but he’s okay.”

With their record now at 74-82, the Guardians will now finish under .500 for the second time in the last three seasons.

The Orioles (96-59) will return for tomorrow’s series finale, starting at 1:40 p.m. Baltimore’s Kyle Gibson (14-9, 5.00 ERA) is expected to face Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie (0-1, 4.50 ERA), who would make his first start since being activated from the 60-day IL with an elbow injury.

Featured Image Photo Credit: © David Richard-USA TODAY Sports