Offense Backs Bauer in Tribe’s Win Over Twins; Indians 6, Twins 2
Bob Toth | On 01, Aug 2018
Trevor Bauer earned his tenth win of the season with a quality start and was supported by big days at the plate throughout the Indians lineup as Cleveland evened their series in Minnesota against the Twins on Tuesday night with a 6-2 victory.
Bauer’s stat line might not have looked like his usual contributions this season, but his effort was good enough to limit the Twins to just two runs over six and one-third innings of work. The bullpen worked two and two-thirds scoreless innings and the offense handled the rest, providing six runs on eleven hits while performing better with runners in scoring position than the night before.
The Indians trailed after two innings as Bauer battled some command issues throughout the night and the suspect strike zone of home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor. Bauer put two on in the first on a two-out walk of Jorge Polanco and a hit by pitch of Logan Morrison, but he kept them off of the scoreboard. The next inning, however, the Twins manufactured a run as Miguel Sano doubled and was sacrificed to third by Ehire Adrianza before a sacrifice fly from Jake Cave gave the Twins a 1-0 lead.
The bottom of the Tribe lineup would contribute in the third to put the Indians on top. Roberto Perez stared the frame with a double to right-center off of Kyle Gibson. Greg Allen looked to bunt the runner over, but legged out an infield single instead. Francisco Lindor walked on six pitches to load the bases. Michael Brantley grounded to short, where Polanco started a double play, but Perez scored to tie the game. A double from Jose Ramirez to right knocked in Allen to give Cleveland a 2-1 advantage.
Bauer walked single batters in the third and fourth innings, but prevented further damage, giving the bottom of the order another chance to shine in the top of the fifth. Perez led off with a walk off of Gibson and Allen singled to left. Lindor moved the runners up with a fielder’s choice, but Brantley could not drive the runners in as he grounded into a fielder’s choice force at second for the second out. Ramirez came through again with another hit in the clutch, dropping an RBI-single to right to extend the Indians’ lead to 3-1.
Bauer walked a batter for the third straight inning in the fifth as Bobby Wilson drew a leadoff walk, but he again prevented the traffic from advancing to home plate. Morrison skipped the need to manufacture runs in the bottom of the sixth as he launched his 14th homer of the year over the wall in right-center to make it a 3-2 game.
The Indians responded to a Twins run for the second time on the night in the next half inning. Against former Tribe reliever Matt Belisle, Allen singled for the third time on the night, reaching safely with one out. Lindor moved him to second on an infield single and the pair advanced on a throwing error by Sano. Brantley once again failed to drive in runners in scoring position as he grounded to short for the second out. Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring Edwin Encarnacion to the plate with force plays in effect, but he made the Twins pay with a single just in front of right fielder Max Kepler that drove in both Allen and Lindor to make it a 5-2 game. Taylor Rogers came in from the bullpen for manager Paul Molitor and struck out Yonder Alonso to end the threat with a pair standing on the corners.
Bauer and Brad Hand handled the bottom of the seventh, with the National League All-Star reliever taking over for the American League All-Star starting pitcher after giving up a single and getting a fly out to deep center. Hand got Joe Mauer to fly to left and Rosario to ground to second to leave a runner at second.
Both clubs stranded runners in the eighth. Perez singled off of Addison Reed with two outs, but Allen flied to center. Hand retired the first two batters of the bottom half before Kepler doubled. Cody Allen came on and got Sano to fly to right.
The Indians added an insurance run in the ninth off of Trevor May in his first appearance since 2016. Lindor singled and moved to third on a base hit by Ramirez following a strikeout by Brantley. Ramirez picked off second to put two in scoring position for Encarnacion, who grounded to second, but Adrianza’s throw to the plate was not in time to nab an aggressive Lindor with the feet-first slide. Alonso ended the inning with a double play ball, but the Tribe had a 6-2 lead.
Allen returned for the final three outs, but once again had some trouble getting the job done. After getting the first two outs on six pitches, he walked pinch-hitter Mitch Garver on four straight balls after getting ahead in the count 0-2. Mauer singled to right-center to put a pair on, but Rosario lofted a fly ball to left for the final out of the day.
The Indians (58-48) moved back to ten games over the .500 mark and extended their division lead back to nine games over the Twins (49-57). Cleveland is now just 4-7 against Minnesota this season.
Bauer got his tenth win of the year to give the Indians three pitchers in double-digits on the year. His unusual stat line included as many walks as hits (four each), which both outnumbered his strikeout total for the day (three). The Twins were able to lay off of some of his stuff as he got just eight swinging strikes over his six and one-third innings of work. He allowed two runs, one on a solo homer.
“A frustrating outing, personally, but things to build on,” shared Bauer during his postgame press conference. “Obviously, the team won, so that’s the ultimate goal every time I go out there and pitch.”
“You look up in the fifth inning and he had one hit, but he had been out of the stretch every inning because he just wasn’t commanding,” said Tribe skipper Terry Francona of his starter. “He fights and claws and doesn’t give in and got himself a win, and we got a win out of it.”
Hand earned his second hold with the Indians, while Allen secured the four-out save, his 21st of the year.
Gibson dropped to 5-8 on the year despite a quality start on the mound. He allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He pitched from behind for much of the night, getting ahead of just eight of 25 batters faced with the first pitch of the at bat. It was his first start after throwing a career-high 120 pitches against Boston in his last outing.
The 8-9-1 hitters set the table effectively for the Tribe on Tuesday, combining to go 7-for-11 at the plate with all six runs scored. Allen had three singles and scored three times. Perez reached three times with a walk and two hits and scored once. Lindor also reached base safely three times with two singles and a walk and scored a pair of runs.
Francona announced after the game that, despite the good game, the outfielder Allen was the odd man out as the team will option him back to Triple-A Columbus to make room for newly acquired center fielder Leonys Martin.
Ramirez went 3-for-4 at the plate to fully bury his brief hitting slump. He drove in two runs and reached a fourth time with an intentional walk. Encarnacion drove in three runs on the night with a 1-for-5 day. The pair drove in four runs with two outs.
The Twins will call on left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 3.65 ERA) to make the spot start for Lance Lynn after he was dealt to the New York Yankees on Monday. It will be his third start of the year with the Twins and fourth overall appearance. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (12-5, 3.89) will make his 20th start and 21st appearance of the year for the Indians, looking to win a fifth straight game after taking a no-decision in a quality start against Detroit his last time out. His last loss (June 16) came against the Twins after allowing four runs in an inning and one-third before leaving the game after being struck by a line drive.
First pitch of the rubber match of the series is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET on Wednesday.
Photo: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images