Baltimore Orioles: Doubleheader Shutouts – Not Since 1974


Jun 28, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) high fives pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It was a long but beautiful Sunday for the Baltimore Orioles as they swept the Cleveland Indians 4-0 and 8-0. Ubaldo Jimenez threw eight innings, with Chris Tillman following with seven complete frames. The explosive O’s offensive did their explosive thing, and two more wins go into the books for the Birds.

It is the first time since 1974 that the Baltimore Orioles won a doubleheader and shut out the opponent in both games – 2-0 and 1-0. Forty-one years ago it was also the Indians on the receiving end – in Cleveland.

The date was September 6, 1974. Dave McNally pitched a complete game three-hitter in the opener, with the first O’s run coming in the eighth inning by right-fielder Enos Cabell for the 2-0 win. Mike Cuellar threw a five-hit shutout in game two with the only fun of the game scored by Mark Belanger in the seventh inning.

The previous occasion where the Orioles completely shut out opponents in a doubleheader was not nearly as long as 41 years. In fact, it was amazingly only four days prior against the Boston Red Sox. Both games had scores of 1-0, and each were complete game shutouts by Ross Grimsley on three hits and Mike Cuellar on two hits.

There was only one game between these two doubleheaders, and it too was a complete game shutout by Jim Palmer. These five shutouts were in the midst of a 10-game winning streak that took the Orioles from a 63-65 record to 73-65. Those were great days. By way of comparison, there have been a grand total of 13 shutouts in the whole American League so far this entire season.

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The win moves the Orioles into a tie for first place with Tampa Bay, with the Yankees a distant third at a half-game back, and the fourth-place Blue Jays facing elimination at a game behind. This is crazy.

Last year the Orioles moved up in the standings to gain a tie at the top of the A.L. East in their 85th game of the season. It was on July 3rd – at the end of a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are in town for the next four nights. At that point in 2014, the O’s were 46-39. Currently they are also seven games over .500 at 41-34 on the strength of winning 18 of their past 23 games.

Surely most of you have seen the games or read about them. But the Cleveland Indians – not a good team at all – seemed unable to respond to getting behind in a baseball game. In the afternoon contest it was a Jimmy Paredes two-run homer that appeared to break them. And in the nightcap it was a two-out, clutch, two-RBI single by Ryan Flaherty that gave the O’s the 2-0 lead on the way to victory.

Flaherty is now hitting .261 – no kidding! I could maybe start to like this guy; and it is right about the time that Jonathan Schoop is ready to return to the club.

Next: The ups and downs of Jimmy Paredes