John Means flirts with another no-hitter to help Orioles beat Guardians, 2-1, ending 3-game skid: ‘Exactly what we needed’

John Means threw his signature changeup, then grimaced and dropped his head. He knew instantly that his pursuit of a second no-hitter, similar to the ball off Andrés Giménez’s bat, was gone.

The two-out dwelling run within the seventh inning marked the primary hit Means allowed in his third begin again with the Orioles after final 12 months’s Tommy John elbow reconstruction, and it offered the one run the Cleveland Guardians scored in Baltimore’s 2-1 victory.

Means’ pitch depend possible would have prevented him from ending the feat, as he did May 5, 2021, in opposition to the Seattle Mariners for the Orioles’ first solo no-hitter since 1969. Saturday’s begin marked Means’ longest since that sport, in addition to the membership’s deepest no-hit bid since.

“I’m going until [manager Brandon Hyde] tells me no,” Means stated. “I was ready to go the whole time.”

He adopted Giménez’s dwelling run, on his season-high 89th pitch, by inducing a popout one providing later. And with a left-handed hitter opening the eighth, Hyde gave Means yet one more batter. Hyde stated earlier than the sport he wouldn’t put Means in an “unsafe situation,” however with the Orioles (96-59) taking part in their sixteenth of 17 straight video games and their bullpen fatigued, he acknowledged size was a lot desired.

Means offered that and extra, with a third-inning stroll and a fifth-inning hit batter accounting for the one base runners in opposition to him earlier than the house run. A groundout to 3rd baseman Ramón Urías, who caught a lineout at shortstop to finish Means’ no-hitter in 2021, finalized Saturday’s brilliance.

“John was exactly what we needed tonight,” catcher James McCann stated. “Our bullpen has been stepping up huge for us all season long, and they needed a break, and that’s exactly what John did. He commanded extremely well. He followed the game plan extremely well. He was in control from pitch one.”

Yennier Cano acquired the ultimate two outs of the eighth, and Cionel Pérez pitched an ideal ninth as Baltimore ended its three-game shedding streak. The victory dropped the Orioles’ magic quantity to clinch the American League East to 5, with the Tampa Bay Rays rallying for a walk-off victory over the Toronto Blue Jays earlier Saturday.

Working at a tempo McCann known as “phenomenal” and Hyde additionally praised, Means induced tender contact with regularity. Of the 19 balls the Guardians (74-82) put in play off Means, solely 5 left the bat at 90 mph or more durable, with Giménez’s dwelling run hit above 97 mph. Means relied primarily on his fastball and changeup, with that pair accounting for 79 of his 96 pitches as he struck out 4.

“I’m pleased to feel like I’ve gotten better every time, just getting more and more used to it,” Means stated. “I’m feeling right where I want to be.”

After lacking 17 months between elbow surgical procedure and a again pressure, he has a 2.60 ERA throughout three begins.

“It would have been nice to have him earlier,” McCann stated. “But what he’s been able to do coming back, it’s been huge for us.”

Aware he hadn’t given up successful, Means stated his first no-hitter helped cut back his nerves as he sought a second. He was disenchanted he left a changeup larger than supposed to Giménez, resulting in Cleveland’s first hit being a house run that reduce the Orioles’ two-run lead in half.

McCann, who has caught two no-hitters, stated he didn’t begin fascinated about the likelihood till a few batters earlier than it vanished. As is typical, Means’ pursuit wasn’t mentioned within the Orioles’ dugout, however he and McCann had been in a position to smile about how shut he had come after the underside of the eighth.

“He’s had one, I’ve had a couple, and I think we both knew that we had a shot at another one,” McCann stated. “They ended up only getting that one hit, so we were close.”

But it was uncertain Means would have been the one to complete it off, regardless. Including his 5 rehabilitation begins, he hadn’t pitched past the fifth inning or thrown greater than 86 pitches this 12 months earlier than Saturday. Hyde stated he pushed Means “about as far as I could definitely take him, whether he gave up a hit or not.”

Before exiting his second begin of final 12 months with an damage that proved season-ending, Means spent a lot of Hyde’s five-season tenure because the membership’s undisputed prime starter, making the All-Star workforce in 2019. Hyde is happy to welcome that pitcher again into Baltimore’s rotation.

“What he means from a strike-throwing ability, he’s our only left-handed starter, and it’s John Means,” Hyde stated. “He pitched great.”

With the Orioles’ lead slender in each the sport and division race, Hyde’s precedence, he made clear, was leaving Progressive Field with a victory. That turned his and the workforce’s singular focus after the house run.

“It’s deflating for a second, obviously, just because of the fact that something special was potentially going to happen,” McCann stated. “But at the same time, we’ve got to have a short memory because we’re now in a one-run game.”

Averaging greater than 5 relievers used over the previous six video games, Hyde required solely two behind Means. Given the workloads of others, he had transformed starter Jack Flaherty warming within the ninth in case any of the body’s first three batters reached base in opposition to Pérez. But a crisp inning left Flaherty within the bullpen and gave the Orioles 89 straight multigame collection with out being swept, extending their AL document.

Anthony Santander drove in each of Baltimore’s runs with hits within the first and sixth innings, giving him six RBIs within the first three video games of this collection in opposition to his former group. The Orioles wasted many alternatives early, however Means ensured that didn’t matter.

After starting his profession on Orioles groups that struggled to win, Means is grateful to be on one certain for the playoffs, strengthening his case to be in Baltimore’s postseason rotation with Saturday’s efficiency.

“You can’t beat it,” Means stated. “You can’t get this feeling anywhere else. To be back with this team, after a win like that, it’s big time.”

Orioles at Guardians

Sunday, 1:40 p.m.


Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM