The Indians matched a season-high with 18 hits and put up eleven runs, including six in the eighth, to rout the Cincinnati Reds by an 11-1 final to wrap up the first half of the season.
Cleveland (50-38) cruised to a sixth straight victory with a strong pitching performance from Trevor Bauer (8-6) and moved within five and a half games of the Minnesota Twins in the division, as the top club in the American League Central fell 4-1 in eleven innings against the Texas Rangers.
The Indians threatened twice in the first three innings against Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle. Carlos Santana doubled with two down in the first and was joined on the bases after a Jason Kipnis walk, but Jose Ramirez grounded out to strand a pair. After going down in order in the second, the Tribe put three straight batters on in the third with one out as Francisco Lindor and Greg Allen both singled before a walk by Santana, but Mahle struck out Kipnis and Ramirez swinging to leave the bags full.
Bauer had a minor scare in the first, when Nick Senzel drew a leadoff walk and Yasiel Puig singled to right with two outs, but Jesse Winker lined out to second. Bauer retired the side in order in the second and third innings.
The Indians got on the board with a big swing in the fourth. After outs by Jake Bauers and Roberto Perez, eight-hitter Tyler Naquin parked an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right for his seventh homer of the year, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
Bauer worked around a leadoff walk by Puig in the bottom of the fourth before his offense extended the lead in the fifth. Allen singled and Santana walked, bringing Reds manager David Bell out of the dugout for reliever Jared Hughes. Kipnis moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Ramirez hit a long fly to the gap in center that was tracked down by Winker for the second out, but it was deep enough to score Allen to make it 2-0. Bauers doubled that lead on the next pitch, hitting a 427-foot drive to the grassy portion beyond the center field wall for his eleventh homer of the season and a 4-0 lead.
Bauer gave up a run in the fifth. Jose Peraza singled to start the inning before a strikeout by Kyle Farmer. Josh VanMeter pinch-hit for the pitcher Hughes and drove a 2-0 pitch off of the wall in left. Bauers fired in to the cutoff man Lindor, but his throw to the plate sailed over the head of Perez to allow Peraza to score the Reds’ first run of the day. Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch before Bauer struck out both Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez looking.
Robert Stephenson retired the side in order in the sixth after replacing Hughes, but he could not replicate those results in the seventh. Allen tripled to center and Stephenson left the mound after striking out Santana swinging for the first out. David Hernandez came on in a double switch, but could not retire Kipnis as he plated Allen with a single to left-center to give the Indians a 5-1 lead. Hernandez got the next two to prevent further scoring.
Bauer cleared out the Reds in order after the stretch before his teammates broke the game wide open with a giant eighth inning. Perez doubled to open the frame and scored on a single by Naquin. Bobby Bradley grabbed a bat to hit for Bauer and doubled home Naquin to make it 7-1. Lindor struck out swinging to end Hernandez’s outing and Jimmy Herget entered on another double switch. Allen worked the count full from 0-2 and lined the seventh pitch of his at bat over the wall in right-center for a two-run shot to make it 9-1. Santana grounded out to first for the second out, but the next four Indians reached base safely. Kipnis pulled his seventh homer of the season down the right field line to make it a 10-1 game. Ramirez and Bauers both singled and pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki scored the eleventh run of the game on a first pitch single to right. Naquin fouled out to leave a pair.
Nick Wittgren and Tyler Olson handled the last two innings for manager Terry Francona. Wittgren retired the side in order in the eighth, while Olson worked around a one-out walk by Curt Casali in his only plate appearance of the day before a fly out by Farmer and a strikeout of VanMeter.
The Reds (41-46) dropped their second straight game and went just 1-3 against the Indians this season. Even after losing the last two, Cincinnati remains only four and a half games in back of Chicago in the National League Central, despite sitting in last place.
Bauer shut down the Reds for the second time this season while improving to 8-6 on the season. He allowed just one run on four hits with three walks, one hit batter, and nine strikeouts in seven full innings of quality work on the mound. He threw 114 pitches to the 29 batters that he faced, but had early traffic in four innings when allowing the leadoff man to reach safely.
“He battled his rear end off,” Indians manager Francona said. “For four hits and [three] walks, it seemed like there was a lot of traffic. He got two huge strikeouts. That allowed us to add on.”
Bauer joined in the Indians’ hit parade with a single through the right side in the fourth in the middle of three trips to the dish. It was just his second career hit and his first since singling in 2015. He is now 2-for-29 in 33 career plate appearances.
He was also named the Ohio Cup’s Most Outstanding Player for his performance against the Reds this season, voted on by the media personalities of the two cities.
Mahle dropped to 2-9 on the season with a short showing on the mound. He lasted just four innings, allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 84 pitches and matched Bauer with 13 swinging strikes on the afternoon.
The Indians had another four-hit game in the lineup and it came from an unlikely source. Allen, starting in center and hitting second in the lineup, went 4-for-6 on the day, scoring three runs and driving in a pair to extend his hitting streak to seven straight. While outperforming the Reds on his own, he stepped to the plate with one out in the ninth inning needing a double for the cycle, but he grounded out up the middle.
In addition to his great day at the plate, Allen also robbed Jose Iglesias of extra bases in the second inning with a full sprint diving catch in center before sliding into the fencing in front of the Indians bullpen.
Santana extended his on-base streak to 29 straight games with a double and a pair of walks. Lindor, Kipnis, Bauers, and Naquin each had two hits on the afternoon.
The Reds wore sleeveless vest jerseys that were replicas of the team’s 1956 road jerseys. Cincinnati could not get anything done with runners in scoring position – the lineup went 0-for-6 while stranding eight men. The roster combined for just four hits on the day, with two more coming from Puig. The Cincy right fielder had five of the Reds’ nine hits in the two-game set against the Indians.
Senzel left after one inning after spraining his right ankle trying to make a leaping catch against the Great American Ball Park outfield wall.
Major League Baseball will now take its rest, with the game’s best heading to Cleveland for the 90th Midsummer Classic from Progressive Field on Tuesday night. Action will resume on Thursday, when the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros open the second half. The remaining 28 teams will return to the diamond on Friday, July 12, with the Reds opening the second half in Colorado against the Rockies while the Indians will host the Minnesota Twins.
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