Bauer tosses a gem, leads Indians past Detroit, 6-2
Tribe tames Tigers for second straight night as offense heats up
CLEVELAND—The odds of winning the lottery?
One in 175 million.
The odds of the last place Indians beating Justin Verlander and his $180 million contract Tuesday night?
Apparently not as high as many thought.
Backed by a total team effort on both sides of the ball, the Tribe cashed in against Verlander and first place Detroit, winning 6-2 to take the first two games of the three-game series.
“We’ve played two very good baseball games,” reliever Cody Allen said. “Two clean games defensively, we pitched well, and we got defense when we needed it. Hopefully this can carry over.”
The Tribe has suddenly found a way to tame the Tigers, anteing up to two straight wins after coming off an ugly four-game losing streak. Cleveland (21-25) improves to 3-1 versus Detroit this year, already one victory shy of matching their win total against Motown in 2013.
Making his second start of the season, Trevor Bauer (1-1, 2.25 ERA) made it look easy Tuesday night despite high stakes. The right-handed phenom gave the Indians his second quality start of the year, going six strong innings allowing two runs and striking out five.
“He did a lot of things good,” manager Terry Francona said. “He competed, he pitched in, he was aggressive attacking the strike zone, and he changed speeds and executed pitches. That’s not the easiest assignment coming from Triple-A to face them, I thought he really did a great job.”
Bauer made just two mistakes, both of which ended up as souvenirs. A solo homer by Torii Hunter in the first inning and another long ball by Tigers catcher Alex Avila in the fifth accounted for the only damage against him in the ballgame.
“I thought I did pretty well,” Bauer said. “I gave the team a chance to win, so it was nice to come out and do that especially in the first once since being called up.”
Making just his tenth major league start, the 23-year-old showed great command on the mound, tossing 15 first pitch strikes to the final 20 hitters he faced. Bauer also touched as high as 100 MPH on the radar gun for the first time in the big leagues, netting two big double plays in the contest that helped him out of two jams.
“Performing well is always pleasing, especially when the team gets a win and you can help contribute to it,” he said. “I think that was the most frustrating thing for me last year, was that I’d go out there and I didn’t feel like I was contributing to helping the team win, so it’s nice to be able to do that this year.”
Taking out his last start of 2013, Bauer has allowed eight earned runs over 28 1/3 innings of work, recording 24 strikeouts and owning a 2.54 ERA.
“It’s night and day compared to what we saw last year,” third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall said of his starter. “We knew he had the stuff.”
It was Chisenhall that gave Cleveland their first run of the game on a RBI single off Verlander in the first, coming back right after Hunter’s blast.
“It was nice to answer back,” Chisenhall said. “Being able to answer back early like that sends a message to our team that we’re ready to play, and everyone is on board.”
Once dubbed the best prospect in the Indians organization, Chisenhall has been a pleasant surprise on offense all season, leading the team hitting .366 and finally showing signs of promise going forward.
“I felt like last year, every time I went up there I was trying to hit a homer or do a lot of damage where it wasn’t to my benefit,” he said. “This year, I’m just being calm and taking what’s given to me.”
The rest of the offense followed suit one inning later in the second, as the first six Indians hitters all reached base. A ground-rule double by Nick Swisher and a walk to Yan Gomes set up the inning for Mike Aviles, who lined a two-run double to the gap in left-center giving the Tribe a two run lead.
They kept letting it ride.
“We really made him work hard,” Francona said. “We just kind of had the line moving.”
It was Verlander’s (5-3, 3.55 ERA) worst outing of the season, surrendering five runs on 11 hits over six innings, striking out just two. Cleveland has totaled 11 runs on 26 hits in the first two games of the series.
“It’s always nice to have a lead,” Bauer said. “Things don’t tighten up nearly as quick. But it’s pretty much the same approach regardless, just go out there and execute pitches and attack guys.”
When the Indians traded for Bauer back in the winter of 2012, they wagered pending free agent Shin-Soo Choo in the trade. More than 17 months later, it looks like they were dealt a winning hand, picking up a pair of great young arms in Bauer and reliever Bryan Shaw, who relieved the Tribe starter tossing two scoreless innings.
“I just feel like I’m in a better place as a pitcher,” Bauer said. “I’m more prepared to go out there and compete and I think that’s the biggest thing.”
“Last year he had to work through some frustrations and now we’re starting to see a young pitcher develop,” Francona said. “One who we think can help our rotation be a winning rotation.”
Pitching for the third straight game, Allen threw a scoreless ninth inning to seal the victory over Detroit.
“They’re a good team,” Allen said. “It’s important to play well against everybody, but obviously a team like that who’s going to be at the top of the division all year. We need to win these games.”
The Tribe will go for the jackpot in the series finale Wednesday afternoon, looking for their first sweep of the season.
Up next for Indians: Afternoon baseball, as the Wahoo’s looks to sweep Detroit in the series finale Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. Right-hander Zach McAllister (3-4, 5.36 ERA) toes the rubber against 2013 A.L. Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.83 ERA).
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Bauer does become the real deal along with Kluber than the Indians will have a good potential at the top of the rotation going forward.
Time take down Scherzer today, but in order to get back into the race they will need to learn how to win the road. The road record is terrible.
I said this last yr, I stand by it - over the course of their careers I'd take Bauer over Salazar. I'm not trashing Salazar here, he's a talented kid, one yr older than Bauer, and will get back to the bigs this yr... bc of injury ineffectiveness or possibly as a result of a trade. (Masterson - if they fail to contend and they decide to him).
The rest of the comments I have are in the Game Thread on the Boards of this site..
Good win.. but, they haven't won anything yet.. still have one more to go...(jake taylor...)