CLEVELAND — Shane Bieber was determined to finish what he started, even if it meant playing hide-and-seek with his pitching coach.
Bieber struck out a career-high 15 in his first major league complete game and the Cleveland Indians routed the Baltimore Orioles 10-0.
“It was one of those days where everything was working,” he said. “Fortunately I was able to take advantage of it because they don’t come too often. A lot of guys will tell you that, just be able to take advantage of it.”
The 23-year-old Bieber gave up five hits, didn’t walk anyone and threw 107 pitches. He bounced back from allowing four home runs against the Chicago White Sox in his last start.
Bieber received a loud ovation from the crowd of 21,377 when he took the mound for the ninth inning. He struck out Dwight Smith Jr., retired Joey Rickard on a groundout and whiffed Chris Davis to end the game.
The right-hander admitted he tried to stay away from pitching coach Carl Willis in the late innings, concerned he might not be given the chance to finish.
“I avoided Carl once and he found me again,” Bieber said. “He said, ‘How much does it mean to you?’ I said ‘a lot.’ I was eyeing it the whole time.”
Davis and Smith each struck out in all four at-bats. Steve Wilkerson and Hanser Alberto were the only starters who didn’t strike out.
“That guy really threw the ball well,” Davis said. “I mean, he was pretty dominant the whole game.”
A day after being held to one hit, the Orioles were overmatched against Bieber (3-2).
Bieber’s strong outing came the day after Adam Plutko held Baltimore to one run in six innings. The Indians are relying on the two young right-handers with Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger out with injuries.
“We’re always encouraged with Biebs because we know how he prepares,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Nobody can forecast years down the road, but what we ask our guys to do, he does every bit of it.”
Carlos Santana hit an RBI single in the first, then led off the third with his seventh home run of the season.
Cleveland took three of four from the Orioles. Baltimore has lost nine of 11 and has allowed a major league-leading 94 home runs.
“I’m looking forward to us coming to the park ready to play tomorrow,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “This game was lopsided from early on. We were in it yesterday, won the day before. Today we just got beat.”
Yefry Ramirez (0-2) struggled in his first start of the season, giving up four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Mike Freeman had a two-run double in the seventh while Oscar Mecardo had his first major league RBI with a sixth-inning double. Carlos González, Roberto Pérez and José Ramirez also drove in runs for the Indians.
Bieber’s reward from his teammates was a postgame shower that consisted of an assortment of liquids.
“It smelled interesting,” he said. “There were a lot of ingredients in it. It was the best/worst time of my life, for sure.”
Hyde was disappointed his hitters didn’t make any adjustments against Bieber.
“He kept throwing his slider down and I kept swinging at it, that’s just stupidity on my part,” Davis said.
Indians: Clevinger (strained muscle in upper back) threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. He’s expected to increase his workload in upcoming bullpen work over the next several days.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-3, 4.18 ERA) is scheduled to make his seventh career start against Oakland in the opener of a three-game set Monday. Carrasco will be looking to extend his streak of 12 consecutive scoreless innings.