A six-run outburst by the Indians in the seventh inning proved to be enough as Cleveland completed a three-game sweep over the Kansas City Royals in an 8-4 final on Thursday.
The Indians (48-38) moved to a season-high ten games above even and cut their deficit in the American League Central Division down to six games, coupled with a Minnesota loss in Oakland for the second time in three days. The Indians’ bullpen picked up for rookie righty Zach Plesac when he was unable to make it through the third inning and stopped the bleeding, holding the Royals to just a run on four hits over the final six and one-third innings.
Concerns about the Indians being underrepresented in an All-Star Game hosted by the city were squashed with the news that the deserving duo were joining Carlos Santana, who was named on Thursday as the starting first baseman for the AL squad for the annual July exhibition.
The Baltimore Orioles feasted on Cleveland Indians pitching on Friday and Saturday, but they had no answer for a masterful Shane Bieber on Sunday as the Tribe right-hander fired eight shutout innings and Brad Hand worked some ninth inning magic to secure a 2-0 shutout to avoid a series sweep.
The Tribe’s start to a three-city road trip to close out the first half had gone about as bad as it possibly could. Poor starting pitching, equally inefficient relief efforts, and an absent offense contributed to back-to-back 13-0 shutouts for the Orioles. Bieber changed course on those results, shouldering the load for eight solid innings while using the minimal run support produced by the offense to carry the team to a much needed victory.
Brad Hand has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season, but Tuesday night was not his night. The Indians’ potential All-Star closer blew his first save in 23 chances, allowing five runs on five straight hits to start the ninth inning, capped by a Hunter Dozier grand slam, as the Kansas City Royals stunned Cleveland, 8-6.
Hand entered with a 1.05 ERA on the year in 35 games with just four runs allowed, but that ERA more than doubled to 2.36 in his worst outing of the season. Called upon for the fifth time in the last six days, Hand entered to protect a three-run lead in a 6-3 contest, but his first pitch to Martin Maldonado was sent to left for a leadoff double. Whit Merrifield followed with a single to center after fouling off several pitches. Nicky Lopez reached on an infield single to first that scored Maldonado to make it 6-4. Alex Gordon loaded the bases with a single to center and on the next pitch, Dozier unloaded them with a 406-foot blast to the bleachers to stun the hometown crowd.
Zach Plesac was good again for the Tribe and his offense provided him with a five-run second inning as the Indians cruised to a Sunday sweep of the Detroit Tigers in an 8-3 victory from downtown Cleveland.
Plesac continued an impressive start to his Major League career by handling the Tigers with ease after a slightly shaky opening to the day. He outdueled Daniel Norris, who faced all nine Indians hitters in the second in what proved to be the difference in the ball game.
Cleveland rallied back from an early 5-2 deficit with a two-run eighth, and Brad Hand got some big help in the ninth from outfielder Tyler Naquin to protect a 7-6 win for the Indians over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
The Indians opened their six-game homestand, their last of the first half, with another big win as the offense picked up for a rocky pitching performance from starter Trevor Bauer, who had a tough matchup against Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd. After coughing up an early lead, Bauer was done before five was complete, but the Indians bullpen covered for him with four perfect innings of relief before a brief scare for their closer in the ninth.
Mike Minor’s strong start to the 2019 season continued on Thursday as he limited the Indians to just three hits over eight one-run innings to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 win over Cleveland from Globe Life Park.
The Rangers (40-35), looking to avoid a series loss to the Indians (39-35), got a couple of early runs and got two more late on solo homers off of AJ Cole to split their four-game set against Cleveland. The win moved the club back in front of the Indians, who were unable to take advantage of a low scoring contest from Arlington. Despite taking the L, Cleveland still returns home with positive overall numbers from a 5-2 road trip through Detroit and Texas.
For four innings, the Indians could not strike through against left-hander Gregory Soto, fresh up from Triple-A Toledo to head up a bullpen game for the Tigers. Once he left the mound, the Indians put together a big inning and used another strong pitching performance from Bieber, who struck out a dozen, to hold on for victory.
Jake Bauers hit for the first Indians cycle since 2016 and the offense used a season-high eight-run fourth inning to rout the Detroit Tigers in a 13-4 win on Friday night.
The Cleveland offense enjoyed its series opener at Comerica Park despite losing an early 2-0 lead. After falling behind in the third, the team batted around while putting up eight runs in the fourth and tacked on three more runs for good measure to easily defeat the host Tigers. Six different Tribe hitters had multi-hit games, including a three-hit day from Roberto Perez and a cycle for Bauers, who needed his last at bat in the eighth to become the ninth Cleveland player in the 119-year history of the organization to get a single, double, triple, and homer in the same game.
The Cincinnati Reds used eight extra base hits, including four home runs, to split its two-game set in Cleveland in a 7-2 final over rookie right-hander Zach Plesac and the Indians on Wednesday afternoon.
The Reds came out swinging against the young Tribe hurler, making his fourth Major League start. He ran into some early troubles before settling down to retire 13 in a row, but Cincinnati broke things open for good with runs in four straight innings in the back half of the game to split their quick trip to Cleveland.
Oscar Mercado has made the most out of his first opportunity as a Major Leaguer and he added another scene to his growing highlight reel on Tuesday night, driving in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning with a bases loaded one-out single to left to give the Cleveland Indians a 2-1 victory over the visiting Cincinnati Reds.
In a game knotted up since the top of the fifth, neither team put up much of a fight until the Tribe’s at bats in extra frames in game one of a quick two-gamer from downtown Cleveland. A well-pitched battle between Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo was left in the hands of the bullpens, and the Indians were able to strike through with a big inning against Reds closer Raisel Iglesias to earn another walk-off celebration.
A total of 31,531 fans, the second-largest Progressive Field crowd of the season, saw the Indians rally back from an early 2-0 deficit with five runs in the middle innings to knock off the New York Yankees, 5-2, from downtown Cleveland on Friday night.
A beautiful night for baseball, chock full of dollar hot dogs and postgame fireworks, brought many fans to Progressive Field for a tough contest against the American League East leading Yankees on the first Friday for baseball in the month of June. The Tribe, looking to bounce back after a close loss at the bats of the Minnesota Twins in their series finale Thursday night, aimed to get back over the .500 mark with some tough competition standing in the opposing dugout, but the Indians called on more strong starting pitching from rookie right-hander Zach Plesac and more of the long ball as the Indians rolled to a big victory against a longtime rival in a lightning quick two hour and 23 minute contest.