Five Runs Late Back Bieber and Tribe to Victory in Cincy; Indians 7, Reds 2
Bob Toth | On 06, Jul 2019
The Indians’ winning streak improved to five straight as the Tribe bats erupted for five runs over the final two innings to break a 2-2 tie and send Cleveland to a 7-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon.
On a scorcher from the Queen City, newly minted All-Star pitcher Shane Bieber was tasked with taking down a tough Reds lineup. He handled his business for eight quality innings on the mound and his offense picked up the pieces in the final two innings to give the Indians another needed victory in their slow and methodical climb back up the American League Central Division standings. Now a season-high eleven games over the .500 mark, Cleveland (49-38) trails the Minnesota Twins by six and a half games.
The Indians started the game strong, but fell behind in the bottom of the first. Francisco Lindor started the game with a leadoff homer to right off of Anthony DeSclafani, but Bieber gave up a long ball in the home half as Eugenio Suarez singled to left with two outs and Yasiel Puig drove him in with a two-run big fly to right to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.
Bieber went on to retire the next eight hitters, while DeSclafani had to work out of a big jam in the top of the fourth. With one down, Jason Kipnis singled to right. After a strikeout by Jose Ramirez for the second out, Jake Bauers walked and Roberto Perez singled to right to load the bases. With a chance to tie the game or even take the lead back, Tyler Naquin flied to left to leave the bags full of Indians.
Bieber worked around a one-out double by Puig in the bottom of the fourth before Lindor came through again with another big hit. For the second time in three trips, the four-time All-Star took DeSclafani deep to right, tying the game at two.
For the second time in three innings, the Indians loaded the bases against Desclafani, but could not score. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Bauers and Perez each singled to put runners on the corners. Naquin was intentionally walked to bring the pitcher Bieber to the dish, but he could not help his own cause as he grounded to short.
Bieber set down eight in a row after the Puig double before the slugger ended the streak again with an infield single to third, his third hit of the day. He moved to second on a throwing error on the play by Ramirez. Derek Dietrich struck out looking for the first out and Nick Senzel grounded back to Bieber, who alertly moved to look back Puig but instead found him carelessly running to third. Bieber fired to Ramirez who got the easy tag out of the Reds outfielder. Jose Iglesias lined out to left to end the inning as the Reds ran themselves out of the frame.
Michael Lorenzen, on for a second inning of relief in the eighth, ran into some trouble of his own after retiring the first four batters that he faced. Ramirez doubled to right and with the inning hanging in the balance after a Bauers strikeout, Perez blasted a payoff pitch over the wall in right for a two-run home run, putting the Indians on top, 4-2.
Bieber remained on the mound for the eighth, pitching with his first lead since the first inning, and he struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 inning. The Indians then broke things open in the ninth against Matt Bowman as Bobby Bradley doubled pinch-hitting for Bieber to start the inning. Greg Allen replaced him at second as a pinch-runner and moved to third on a groundout to second by Lindor. Oscar Mercado lined back to the mound for the second out before Santana was intentionally walked. He stole second on catcher’s indifference and Kipnis walked to load the bases. After getting ahead of Ramirez 1-2, Bowman missed on three straight to walk in a run to make it 5-2, and Bauers pulled the next offering into right field for a two-run single to cap a three-run two-out rally for the Tribe.
Nick Goody pitched the ninth with the game no longer a save situation. Joey Votto doubled to start the inning, but Goody struck out the heart of the Reds lineup, getting Suarez, Puig, and Dietrich swinging to end the contest.
Bieber was in command most of the day, retiring eight straight batters on two separate occasions. He looked to be every bit of the All-Star that he is, working eight innings and leaving after 103 pitches (75 strikes). He gave up two first inning runs and nothing more, allowing four hits and issuing no walks while striking out eight batters on the day. He ended his first half with an 8-3 record and a 3.45 ERA.
DeSclafani gave the Reds a quality effort, with only the two Lindor long balls messing up his stat line. He worked six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in the no-decision.
Perez had another big day at the dish for the Tribe, going 4-for-5 with three singles, his 16th homer, and two runs batted in. Lindor’s two homers gave him 14 on the year. Bauers had a pair of hits and drew a walk while driving in two runs as he continued much better numbers at the plate of late. Santana’s 10-game hitting streak came to a close, but his on-base streak extended to 28 games with a walk.
Puig went 3-for-4 for the Reds, accounting for all but two of the Cincinnati hits on the day. He finished a triple short of the cycle. The Reds’ three-game winning streak came to an end as the club dropped to 41-45 on the year. They wore throwback uniforms Saturday, representing their 1939 National League championship winning team.
Prior to the game, the Indians recalled the outfielder Allen from Triple-A Columbus and optioned starter Zach Plesac to their top farm affiliate.
The Ohio Cup finale between the Indians and Reds is scheduled for a 1:10 PM ET first pitch on Sunday. Right-hander Tyler Mahle (2-8, 4.36 ERA) will get the starting nod for the Reds, while Trevor Bauer (7-6, 3.74) will close out the first half for the Tribe.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images