Throughout his career, Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer has shown glimpses of what made him the third overall selection in the 2011 draft. Tuesday night was one such night as he struck out a career-high and American League season-high 14 Oakland hitters and the Indians used a seven-run outburst in the middle innings to defeat the A’s, 9-4.
The Indians (27-23) pushed their winning streak to three straight and continued their dominance of the American League West Division. The club has now won seven straight against the AL West and improved to 12-2 overall against the division after posting a 3-0 mark against Texas, a 2-1 record against Seattle, and a 5-1 advantage over Houston.
While Bauer was cutting up the Oakland lineup, it did not come without some complications as the A’s held a 3-0 lead before Cleveland would tally its first run. After getting some help from his friends, Bauer made sure his new found lead would stand up.
The right-hander struck out three in the first, working around a two-out double by Jed Lowrie. In the second, the A’s struck quickly after a leadoff walk by Yonder Alonso. Ryon Healy singled to right to put runners on the corners and Matt Joyce grounded out to Edwin Encarnacion at first on a play that would be overturned after the first base umpire initially ruled second baseman Jason Kipnis’ foot was off of the bag. The call was corrected, but the A’s had a 1-0 lead.
Bauer worked through a swift third inning before the A’s struck through again with three straight hits to start the fourth. Khris Davis and Alonso each singled before Healy doubled off the wall in right, pushing home Davis with the second run of the game. A sacrifice fly by Joyce scored Alonso and Oakland had a 3-0 lead. It could have been much worse, but a nice defensive play by Michael Brantley in left ended the inning. After Josh Phegley struck out, Adam Rosales singled to left. Healy attempted to score from second with two outs, but Brantley threw a strike to catcher Roberto Perez, who applied the tag on the sliding base runner for the third out.
The big play may have been just enough to fire up the Indians offense, one that had just a pair of singles through the first three innings against veteran right-hander Sonny Gray. Francisco Lindor drew a walk before Brantley struck out. Carlos Santana reached on an infield single and Encarnacion ripped his second hit of the game into left to score Lindor from second, making it a 3-1 game. A double to right from Jose Ramirez scored Santana with the second run and with two in scoring position and still only one out in the inning, Bradley Zimmer started his big night at the plate with a two-run double to right, putting the Indians on top, 4-3.
Picked up by his teammates, Bauer struck out the side swinging in the top of the fifth and his offense tacked on more in the home half. Kipnis sent the first pitch of the inning over the wall in center for a home run. Lindor walked and stole second before scoring on a single by Brantley to left to make it 6-3. Brantley stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Santana, and scored easily on a wild pitch with Encarnacion at the plate to give the Indians a 7-4 lead.
Bauer struck out three in an inning for the third time on the night in the sixth, working around a one-out single from Alonso. He struck out the side for the second time in the seventh, ending his outing with five straight strikeouts and nine of the last ten retired in such a way after Brantley’s fourth inning outfield assist.
Bryan Shaw started the eighth for manager Terry Francona, but was unable to complete what he started. He struck out the first and third hitters that he faced, but the second man up, Lowrie, singled, and the fourth man, Alonso, doubled him to third. A booted ball by Ramirez off of the bat of Healy allowed Lowrie to score and brought the tying run to the place in pinch-hitter Mark Canha, who struck out swinging against reliever Andrew Miller.
Zimmer gave the bullpen some breathing room in the eighth against Frankie Montas, delivering a two-run home run after a one-out single by Ramirez, the third hit of the ball game for the Indians third baseman.
Nick Goody pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, giving up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt before getting Rosales to fly out. He struck out the next two batters swinging to end the contest.
The A’s fell to 22-29 with the loss and are just 7-19 on the road this season. The Indians crept closer to the .500 mark at Progressive Field, where they are now 11-13 on the year.
BIG JOB FROM BAUER
After some mixed results in the first few innings, Bauer locked himself in on the mound and used a diet of devastating curveballs throughout the rest of his night to make the A’s hitters look bad. He retired all three outs in an inning on strikeouts on four separate occasions and ended his outing on a tear, striking out nine of the final ten men that he faced around a one-out single by Alonso in the sixth.
He worked seven full innings, allowing three runs on seven hits in his quality start with just one walk and 14 Ks. He threw 77 of his 113 pitches for strikes, including 17 of the swinging variety, in earning his fifth win of the season.
His 14 strikeouts established a new career high and are the most strikeouts by an AL pitcher in 2017.
GRAY GETS WORSE AS GAME GOES ON
A look at some of his in-depth statistics shows that the right-hander Gray has struggled his second and third times against lineups this season and Tuesday was no exception. The Indians were 2-for-9 the first time through, 4-for-8 with a walk the second time, and 3-for-5 the third look with another walk before he was lifted for Montas.
He worked four and two-thirds innings in his second consecutive rocky start, giving up seven runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts on 92 pitches.
Brantley extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his single in bottom of the first. He added an RBI-single in the fifth in his third AB of the night.
Encarnacion wasted no time extending his own hitting streak to nine games with his second inning single in his first at bat of the night. Like Brantley, he added another RBI hit later in the game.
Ramirez had two singles and a double in four trips to the plate on Tuesday, giving him three straight three-hit games. Alonso copied Ramirez’s three hits with two singles and a double, but he also drew a walk to reach base safely in all four trips.
Clevinger remains in the rotation after the move of Danny Salazar into the bullpen and will make his fifth start and sixth overall appearance in the month. He took a no-decision his last time out as two home runs by the Kansas City Royals were his undoing. He gave up eight hits in his five innings, a season high, but walked just one batter while striking out six in the no-decision. Manaea will look to build on his best start of the season while making his second career start against the Indians. He was solid his last time out last week, earning a win behind seven scoreless innings of four-hit baseball with eight strikeouts.
First pitch from Progressive Field is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET.
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