CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyle Bradish held Cleveland to two harmless singles in seven innings and Cedric Mullins homered on Shane Bieber’s first pitch, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 3-0 win over the Guardians on Thursday night.
Bradish (3-5) had his second straight dominant performance. He hasn’t allowed a run in 15 straight innings after going more than three months without a win.
The rookie right-hander was only in trouble once, but regrouped after walking two in the third by striking out Amed Rosario and retiring All-Star José Ramírez on a routine fly to left.
Cionel Pérez worked a perfect eighth and rookie Félix Bautista finished off the two-hitter for his 11th save.
The Orioles, who came in two games out of a wild-card spot, took two of three in this series between playoff hopefuls. Baltimore lost the opener before shutting out Cleveland in consecutive games and holding the Guardians without a run for 21 consecutive innings.
Cleveland’s lead in the AL Central shrunk to one game over idle Minnesota.
Mullins bashed the first of the Orioles’ three homers off Bieber (8-8), who struck out 11 in seven solid innings but couldn’t keep the ball inside the fences.
Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle also homered for Baltimore.
Orioles rookie Gunnar Henderson, one of baseball’s highest-rated prospects who homered in his MLB debut on Wednesday, went 1-for-4 and showed off his elite defense at shortstop.
In the fourth, Henderson fielded a tough short hop, alertly side-stepped and touched second for the force and threw to first for a double play. Henderson made a diving stop to take a single away from Amed Rosario in the sixth, then popped to his feet and rocketed a throw to get Cleveland’s speedy shortstop.
The Orioles didn’t waste a second against Bieber as Mullins and Santander both connected on their first pitch from the right-hander.
The official scorer was in the middle of announcing the game-time temperature when Mullins drilled his 12th homer — fourth leading off in 2022 — into the right-field seats. One out later, Santander drove a changeup over the wall for his 24th homer.
Mountcastle’s 19th homer made 3-0 in the fourth.
Guardians manager Terry Francona isn’t a big believer in team meetings. However, he made an exception before the series finale.
With his young club leading its division and in the thick of a postseason race on Sept. 1, Francona wanted his players to appreciate where they are — and what’s ahead.
“I just wanted them to remember, hey, it’s not supposed to be easy,” Francona said. “We’re playing against these teams that are built for October and we’re kind of holding our own. I just wanted some of them to stay in the moment.”
Orioles: Top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez threw 31 pitches for High-A Aberdeen in his first appearance since suffering a strained side muscle on June 1.
Guardians: LHP Antony Gose, who has been out since early July with an elbow injury, received an injection designed to alleviate pain and lubricate the joint. Francona said the hope is the shot allows Gose to pitch again this season. If not, he’ll explore other options.
Orioles: Begin a three-game series at home against Oakland with Dean Kremer (6-4, 3.24 ERA) starting against Athletics RHP JP Sears (5-1, 2.28).
Guardians: Seattle comes to town for three games with Cleveland’s Zach Plesac (3-11, 4.39) starting the opener against Mariners RHP Luis Castillo (5-5, 2.85).