Bauer Baffles Twins as Tribe Moves to 13 Games Over Even; Indians 10, Twins 0
Bob Toth | On 06, Aug 2018
Trevor Bauer provided six innings of shutout baseball and the offense erupted for a ten-spot in a 10-0 three-hit shutout of the Minnesota Twins on Monday night from Progressive Field.
Bauer entered the day just one strikeout short of matching his career best and five short of the 200-mark and he knocked out both accomplishments with ease in an eleven-strikeout performance as the Indians completed their 12th shutout of the year.
One of the top Cy Young candidates in the American League was backed early with some run support, which turned out to be more than enough for Bauer and the Tribe bullpen in the series opener with the Twins. Kyle Gibson, with a long history of difficulties against Cleveland, was on the mound for Minnesota, but a pair of first inning runs would put him in a hole. He walked Francisco Lindor to start the game and the Tribe’s All-Star shortstop moved to second on a single to center by Michael Brantley. Lindor would come in to score on a sacrifice fly by Jose Ramirez as second baseman Logan Forsythe and right fielder Max Kepler collided on a catch, and a grounder by Edwin Encarnacion knocked in Brantley from third to put the Tribe up by two.
Bauer struck out a pair in the top of the first to set a new personal best in strikeouts. He added two more in the second around a two-out walk of Kepler. He hit the 200-mark with a strikeout of Bobby Wilson in the third and moved to 201 with a swinging K of Eddie Rosario to end the frame with his third straight two-strikeout inning on the night.
The Indians threatened in the third against Gibson, but could not deliver. With two outs, Brantley singled to center and stole second before Ramirez worked a walk. With two on, Encarnacion could not come through, taking a called third strike.
Bauer struck out another in the fourth, his seventh of the night, before the Tribe bats broke open the game in the home half. Yonder Alonso started the frame with a deep drive to the bullpens in right-center to make it a 3-0 game. After a strikeout, Jason Kipnis walked and scored all the way from first on a double to center by Roberto Perez. Brandon Guyer pimped a two-run home run to the Home Run Porch in left, his first homer off of a right-hander this season, to put Cleveland up, 6-0.
Bauer was back to work and in top form again in the fifth after a leadoff single by Forsythe. Now out of the stretch, he struck out Jake Cave before a stolen base by the Twins’ base runner. Wilson was wrung up looking, and back at the top of the order, Bauer whiffed Joe Mauer swinging for his tenth strikeout of the day.
Gibson pitched his only straight 1-2-3 inning in his final action in the fifth.
Bauer returned for one last inning in the sixth, as some heavier pitch counts had led to a higher tally in the blowout. He allowed a double with one out to Jorge Polanco and walked Miguel Sano with two down, but he ended his day with a strikeout looking of Kepler, giving Bauer strikeouts of all nine Twins starters and eleven in the contest.
The Tribe greeted a former friend right away in the sixth as Matt Belisle was the first man out of Minnesota manager Paul Molitor’s bullpen. Kipnis jumped on a first pitch fastball over the plate and got a little help from center fielder Cave, as he jumped at the wall, but the ball flicked out of the webbing and over for a solo shot. Kipnis’ eleventh of the year made it a 7-0 game.
In the eighth, the bats got right back to work in Belisle’s second inning on the rubber. Brantley walked and Ramirez did the same to put two on for Encarnacion. He greeted his former Tribesman with a drive to straightaway center that left the yard for a three-run blast, his 25th, to give the Indians a ten-spot on the Twins.
Adam Cimber worked a perfect seventh in relief with three groundball outs. Oliver Perez handled the eighth with ease, striking out a pair. Dan Otero had the groundball working in the ninth, getting three straight around the infield to end it.
The Indians (62-49) improved to 4-1 in August with their third straight win against the Twins and third straight win overall. The team is now a season-high 13 games over .500 with a ten-game lead in the American League Central. The Twins (52-59) saw their three-game winning streak snapped as they dropped their third straight to the Indians. They are now 7-6 against Cleveland this season.
“We played a good game,” said Tribe skipper Terry Francona. “It started with Trevor. We got our offense in gear and kept at them.”
MILESTONES FOR BAUER
Bauer (11-6, 2.25 ERA) shared postgame that 200 strikeouts was a goal of his for the season and he established loftier goals for 300 next year. He worked six innings in the lopsided contest, as pitch count prevented work deeper into the night. He allowed three hits and walked three while striking out eleven, the tenth time he has reached double digits this season. It tied him for the second-most double-digit K games in the Majors this season.
“The nice thing about being able to throw everything is that hitters can’t hit everything,” shared Bauer. “I have a lot of weapons that I can punch people out with.”
Francona, as has been the case all season long, had plenty of good things to say about his All-Star starter, especially after making his second consecutive start against the Twins.
“Historically, they’ve got guys that have decent numbers against him,” said Francona. “But boy, his stuff was electric tonight. He could have kept pitching and he wanted to. But that’s enough on a night like tonight.
“He throws so much. He’s conditioned his arm. Like he said, he threw four innings before spring training in that college game. His last pitch was maybe his best pitch of the night.”
Bauer has excelled this season, but the damage has been quite visible at Progressive Field. With 12 home starts under his belt, he is now 6-1 with a 1.87 ERA (the best mark in the AL) and a .190 opponent batting average. He has now thrown 100 pitches or more in all 24 starts this season, the longest streak by an Indians pitcher since at least 1987 according to Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio.
TRIBE GETS TO GIBSON
Gibson (5-9, 3.60) gutted out a fifth inning of work after the Indians put up four runs against him in the fourth inning to break the game open. He was charged with six runs (four earned) on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He threw 95 pitches, 50 for strikes, and was ahead of just ten of 24 batters with his first offering.
Belisle’s ERA ballooned to 7.71 after being charged with four runs over two innings of work. Like Gibson, he allowed a pair of long balls. Backup catcher Mitch Garver made his Major League pitching debut in the eighth, giving up a hit and what may have been a second one to Guyer, but in a ten-run game, the close play at first was not reviewed by Francona.
“I like when everybody hits,” said Francona. “I pull for everybody. When they start bringing the catcher in, that’s when I stopped.”
NOT A DRY EYE
Progressive Field was the host of a special moment on Monday, as those present participated in a memorable gesture for the two sons of Chief Petty Officer Tim Lieb of the United States Coast Guard during a game of Deal or No Deal in between innings.
Lieb had been deployed for the last year and his oldest son served as a participant in the game. He was greeted by a special message on the scoreboard from his father, who shared that he wished that he could be in attendance before suggesting case “K”. As his son made his picks, one of the Key Bank cases was opened to reveal the message “I’M HOME!!”
The family was showered in a loud ovation and chants of “U.S.A.” while the children embraced their father in a tender moment that many will remember for a long time.
ON BASE MACHINE
Ramirez was the only Tribe starter to go hitless on the night against Twins pitching, but it did not prevent him from getting on base in other ways. He drew two more walks on the night, extending his on-base streak to 22 straight games. He also added his 83rd RBI of the season with his sacrifice fly in the first.
NOW ON DECK
The Tribe and Twins will get right back to work on Tuesday night, as right-hander Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.66) and left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 2.60) meet on the mound in game two of the four-game set.
Carrasco blew by the Twins on Wednesday on the way to his 13th victory of the campaign, throwing seven and one-third innings of scoreless baseball while striking out ten. Mejia was strong against the Indians in his third start of the season, as he one-hit the Tribe over five innings, but left with a no-decision.
Game time from downtown Cleveland is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Tuesday night.
Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images