Homestand Sweep Caps Incredible Week for Cleveland; Indians 6, Rays 1
Bob Toth | On 22, Jun 2016
Trevor Bauer continued the all day celebration in downtown Cleveland as he threw a complete game gem to sweep the series from the Tampa Bay Rays with a 6-1 victory on Wednesday night.
Bauer, following in the footsteps of Corey Kluber the night before, reeled off a three-hitter. It was the second consecutive three-hitter by the Cleveland staff and the second complete game tossed by Bauer in his career. It seemed the fitting finale of the Indians home schedule for the month and a proper end to a day full of celebrations, jubilation, sun, and fun on the shores of Lake Erie, where estimates of over one million people jammed into the town beginning in the wee hours of the morning to partake in the parade and ceremony honoring the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Indians (41-30), lost some in the shuffle of excitement this month, not only swept their series with the Rays, but swept their six-game homestand and all games in the month of June at Progressive Field. The Indians have won six straight games and eleventh straight on their home field to improve to a season-high eleven games above the .500 mark. Another loss by Kansas City on Wednesday increased Cleveland’s lead in the American League Central Division to three games.
Chris Archer, the former Indians farmhand, continued his early game struggles on Wednesday, walking the leadoff hitter Carlos Santana on five pitches before Jason Kipnis sent a long drive over the wall in center to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead two batters into the game. Francisco Lindor drew a five-pitch walk and moved to second on a groundout by Mike Napoli before scoring on a one-out single to center from Jose Ramirez for the early three-pointer for the Indians.
After a leadoff single to start the game by Logan Forsythe, Bauer retired the next 16 batters before Curt Casali reached on an error at first by Napoli. Staked to the early 3-0 lead, he was given an extra run in the fourth inning with two outs. Lonnie Chisenhall doubled off of Archer to start the inning and moved to third on a groundout from Chris Gimenez. Tyler Naquin grounded back to the pitcher before Santana doubled Chisenhall in with the clutch two-out knock to make it 4-0.
The Rays would get one run in the seventh, the only difficult inning for Bauer on the day. He walked Brad Miller to lead off the inning before getting Evan Longoria to fly to left. Logan Morrison doubled to right, moving Miller to third. Desmond Jennings struck out for the second out, but Corey Dickerson reached safely on an infield single deep in the hole at short. Miller scored, but Morrison would round third too far and was tagged out trying to return to the bag for the final out of the inning while quickly short circuiting the Tampa rally.
Archer left after six for Matt Andriese, who quickly ran into trouble. He gave up a double to Naquin to start the inning and Santana plated him with a single to left-center. Santana stole second and moved to third on a fly out from Kipnis before a Lindor sac fly to left made it 6-1.
Despite the temporary difficulties in the seventh, Bauer settled back down, striking out a pair to end the eighth and another to start the ninth. He got a pair of groundouts in the infield to wrap up his nine-inning outing while earning his fifth win of the season.
Tampa (31-39) leaves town losers of seven straight and five straight to the Indians. They were just 1-5 against Cleveland in 2016 and were outscored 30-11 by them this season.
BAUER BAFFLES THOSE FROM THE BAY
Bauer (5-2, 3.20 ERA) allowed three hits and a walk on the night and just one extra base hit. The Rays could get nothing going against him based on the light traffic on the base paths all game long. He struck out ten.
“I feel like every time I go out there that’s what I should be doing,” said Bauer. “I should be throwing nine so when I’m actually able to accomplish that, it’s a good night.”
“Trevor was a little upset he gave up a run just because we didn’t give up a run the night before,” shared Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway after the game. “It’s a really good atmosphere for those guys right now. They’re really pulling for each other and trying to outdo each other, which is great.”
ARCHER’S WOES IN FIRST CONTINUE
Archer (4-10, 4.70) took the loss, his tenth of the season and his fifth in his career against the Indians. He allowed four runs on six hits in six innings, striking out five and walking a pair.
The early hole he dug for himself in the first inning proved to be much too difficult for his teammates to overcome against strong starting pitching again from the Tribe. His ERA in the first inning of games this season climbed to 10.69 after the three runs allowed in the first on Wednesday night.
HOME HOMER STREAK
The Indians homered in each of their six home games this week. It extended an overall homer streak to ten games, dating back to their game in Anaheim on June 12 against the Angels. They have also homered in nine straight home contests, dating back to June 2 against Kansas City.
The Tribe was a perfect 6-0 on their homestand and ends the month with an 11-0 record at Progressive Field, the first time in franchise history the club has had a perfect month when playing at least ten games.
“I think when we play, we play whoever we’re supposed to,” Indians manger Terry Francona said. “Part of that streak was like three weeks ago. I think if we play good, we give ourselves a chance. If we don’t, we give the other team a better chance.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the feat has been done just three times in the 21st century. The Indians join the 12-0 September by Houston in 2004 and the 13-0 September by Oakland in 2001.
PEARCE TO DL
Steve Pearce, who was injured in the ninth inning of Monday’s game running out a fly out, is expected to be out longer than two weeks with a strained right hamstring. The club placed him on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
DAY OF REST FOR TRIBE
After playing a lengthy stretch of games over the course of the previous month, the Indians will get their second day off in an eight-day span on Thursday prior to the club’s three-game series this weekend in Detroit to start off another three-city, ten-game road trip to wrap up the month of June.
Friday’s pitching matchup pairs two potential American League All-Star starting pitching candidates. Jordan Zimmermann (9-3, 3.24) will make his first start in the Tigers-Indians rivalry. Cleveland will send out Danny Salazar (8-3, 2.23).
Game time for the opener from Comerica Park on Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: AP Photo/Ron Schwane