CLEVELAND (AP) — Cal Quantrill combined with three relievers for a one-hitter, rookie center fielder Will Benson made a pair of terrific leaping catches at the wall, and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Ramón Urias singled in the second inning off Quantrill (11-5) for the Orioles’ lone hit.
Josh Naylor belted a two-run homer and rookie Steven Kwan had a two-run double for Cleveland, which is 14-7 since Aug. 6.
“We’re playing our best baseball now and I don’t think teams like facing us,” Quantrill said. “I just throw some strikes and let the guys go, and our bullpen is pitching their butts off.”
Quantrill worked six innings and extended his career-best winning streak to seven. The right-hander is 12-0 in 39 career games at Progressive Field and has gone 31 straight home starts without a loss, the second-longest streak in MLB history behind Kenny Rogers’ 38 from 1997-2000.
“I love Cleveland,” Quantrill said, smiling. “When everything clicks, it’s pretty easy.”
Trevor Stephan, James Karinchak and closer Emmanuel Clase completed the gem with one inning apiece. Baltimore totaled six baserunners on Urias’ hit, four walks and a fielding error.
“It’s tough to win when you’ve only got one hit,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “And Quantrill obviously pitches very well here.”
Spenser Watkins (4-5) retired the first 11 batters before All-Star José Ramírez beat the shift with a single to left in the fourth. Naylor followed with a wind-aided two-run homer to center, giving the Guardians a 2-1 lead.
Kwan’s two-run double and Amed Rosario’s sacrifice fly in the fifth put Cleveland up 5-1. Watkins gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings and lost his fourth start in a row.
“In the first three innings, their guy used his cutter to get right through us,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “But all along, Cal holds his end up. Good for him, man, and good for us.”
All-Star Andrés Giménez singled twice for Cleveland, which has only lost one of its last 13 series. The Guardians opened a six-game homestand that features three games apiece against postseason contenders Baltimore and Seattle.
“Those guys are so impressive with the pitching they have,” Hyde said. “I like their young position players, as well, because they get on base and don’t strike out. It’s a fun team to watch.”
Ryan Mountcastle, dropped to seventh in the Baltimore batting order for the first time this season, had a sacrifice fly to score Urias.
Guardians OF Myles Straw was not in the lineup as manager Terry Francona attempts to shake him out of an extended offensive slump. Straw is 4 for 53 (.075) over his last 15 games, dropping his average to a career-low .199.
“There is a lot to be said for confidence in this game, and it’s been a pretty tough go for him,” Francona said. “But it has never affected his center field play, ever. I value what Myles does so much.”
Benson, batting .152 with zero extra-base hits in 16 games, started in center.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wells (lower left side discomfort), who was placed on the injured list on July 28, threw a bullpen session at High-A Aberdeen earlier in the day. Manager Brandon Hyde said Wells is on the verge of a rehab assignment.
Guardians: RHP Cody Morris (right back strain) has made back-to-back relief appearances after a pair of starts on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Morris has not allowed a hit or run in six innings over three games out of the bullpen.
Orioles: RHP Jordan Lyles (9-9, 4.45 ERA), who needs one strikeout to reach 1,000 in his career, seeks his first victory over an AL Central team this season. Lyles is 0-3 with a 4.23 ERA in six starts against the division.
Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (9-10, 3.17 ERA) is allowing the seventh-lowest batting average in the majors at .198. The 6-foot-5, 165-pound fireballer is one of seven AL pitchers with double-digit losses in 2022.