Tribe’s Early Assault Aids Bieber in Win; Indians 5, Phillies 2

The Indians used four runs in the first two innings to claim a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies from downtown Cleveland on Friday night.

Shane Bieber won his 15th on the year with another quality start on the mound for the Indians. He allowed just two runs over seven and one-third innings while striking out seven, while former Phillie Carlos Carrasco shut down the only other organization that he has been a member of with a four-out save for his first in the big leagues since 2014.

The Indians got to Phillies starter Drew Smyly quickly after a 1-2-3 first from Bieber. A five-pitch walk by Francisco Lindor proved costly for the veteran lefty Smyly as Oscar Mercado doubled deep to left-center, scoring Lindor with the game’s first run. Carlos Santana singled to left to put runners on the corners and Yasiel Puig made it a 2-0 game with a single to left. The Indians were unable to get any more across, however, as Jordan Luplow flied to center, Franmil Reyes grounded into a fielder’s choice force, and Roberto Perez grounded to third with runners on the corners.

Santana – Jason Miller/Getty Images

Bieber struck out his third in the first two innings before the Indians tacked on two more against Smyly. Yu Chang grounded to third before light-hitting Andrew Velazquez drew a walk. He moved to second on a botched pickoff play and scored on a single by Lindor to make it 3-0. Mercado grounded into a fielder’s choice force at second for the second out, but stole second on a key play. Santana delivered another run with a single to left before getting thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw to the plate.

Bieber made it nine straight set down with a perfect third. Smyly got the hook after walking Puig to start the bottom of the third before he was replaced by Nick Vincent, who got out of the inning with a double play and a groundout.

Bieber allowed his first base runner of the game when Cesar Hernandez singled to open the fourth, but two strikeouts and a fly out left that runner standing at first.

Vincent struck out the side swinging in the fourth before the Phillies got on the board against Bieber in the fifth. Former Indian Brad Miller led things off with a double to left. Scott Kingery lined to second before Adam Haseley singled to put runners on first and third. Maikel Franco plated a pair with a double to left-center to cut the Philadelphia deficit in half at 4-2. Bieber buckled down and struck out Andrew Knapp swinging before getting Hernandez to pop to short to end the inning.

Blake Parker retired all four batters that he faced and Jared Hughes got both men that he faced in the bottom of the sixth. In the seventh, he did not have the same success after getting Perez to ground to third to start play after the stretch. Chang doubled and moved to third on a groundout by Velazquez. Lindor was intentionally walked and Mercado delivered with a single to left to make it a 5-2 game. Mike Morin left two men in relief, getting Santana to ground out to third.

Bieber returned for the eighth, but gave up a leadoff double to Knapp. Hernandez grounded out, bringing manager Terry Francona out of the dugout for left-hander Oliver Perez. He got Bryce Harper to ground to third, moving Knapp to third on the second out. Francona returned to the center of the diamond for the righty Carrasco, who walked Rhys Hoskins before getting former teammate Jay Bruce to ground to short to leave men on the corners again.

Ranger Suarez kept the Indians off of the scoreboard in the eighth, working around a two-out walk of Reyes. Carrasco came back out in the save situation and needed just seven pitches to end the game, getting Miller to fly the first pitch to left before Kingery lined to second and Haseley grounded to third.

Bieber – Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Indians (91-63) kept pace with Minnesota in the American League Central and Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card race to the second spot. Cleveland is tied with Tampa for the second of two Wild Card spots. Philadelphia (78-74) lost for the second game in a row as it dropped to five games in back of Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot in the National League with ten to play.

Bieber continued to show that he has staff ace potential in his first career start against the Phillies and his seventh interleague outing in his first two big league seasons. He worked seven and one-third innings, allowing two runs on seven hits (three doubles) with no walks and seven strikeouts. Perez and Carrasco handled the final five outs, allowing just one base runner to protect the lead.

Smyly pitched one batter into the third inning before getting the hook from manager Gabe Kapler. He allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and no strikeouts on 52 pitches. The bullpen kept the game close the rest of the way, allowing just a run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts over the final six innings worked.

The Indians cashed in with men on base. The team went 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position, including a pair of hits from Santana. Mercado went 2-for-4 on the night with two runs scored and two runs batted in. Seven of nine Phillies recorded a hit, with Hoskins and Bruce being shut down in the heart of the order.

Philadelphia played without catcher J.T. Realmuto (rest) and shortstop Jean Segura (left ankle).

Rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (8-6, 3.64 ERA) will get the start for the Tribe in the middle game of three with the Phillies on Saturday night. It will mark his second career interleague outing. Veteran 36-year-old left-hander Jason Vargas (6-8, 4.48) will look for his tenth career win against the Indians in his 14th MLB season.

Fan Appreciation Night at Progressive Field is scheduled for a 7:10 PM ET start on Saturday.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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