Less than 24 hours after a Motor City meltdown that defied description, the Cleveland Indians decided to give their fans’ blood pressure a break with a drama-deficient 6-0 afternoon victory over the Detroit Tigers, avoiding the dreaded three-game sweep.
Trevor Bauer rebounded from a rough start against Kansas City to hold the Tigers to four hits scattered over eight innings pitched, with ten strikeouts and no walks. He didn’t even allow a baserunner until Niko Goodrum singled to start the 5th.
The Tribe struck first, as they’ve done all series long, but actually managed to build on that lead and even hold it, which are two things they’ve struggled to do in this series.
In the first inning, Rajai Davis reached on an infield single to shortstop Jose Iglesias before advancing to third on a single by Michael Brantley. Davis scored when Jose Ramirez followed with a chopper to Tigers starting pitcher Ryan Carpenter, who bobbled the ball and then allowed Ramirez to reach base and advance to second with an errant throw. A sacrifice fly from Francisco Lindor scored Brantley from third to open up a 2-0 lead.
Carpenter retired the next eight batters before the Indians broke it open in the 4th. Lindor opened with a leadoff single, followed by a Brandon Guyer walk that would be erased by a double play ball from Yonder Alonso. With two outs, Erik Gonzalez — starting in place of Edwin Encarnacion, who was scratched prior to the game with back spasms — sent an RBI single to center field. Jason Kipnis, whose struggles at the plate so far this season have been well documented, doubled to right field to score Gonzalez. Not to be outdone, Roberto Perez extended the Tribe’s lead to 5-0 with an RBI single.
The final firework came courtesy of Michael Brantley, who homered to lead off the fifth inning. The solo shot was his third home run in his last six games.
gates of Hell bullpen opened up and out came Cody Allen to relieve Bauer in the ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff single before striking out the side to secure the shutout and leave fans with at least one positive memory from the bullpen this series.
Next: The Indians head to Houston to take on the Astros for a weekend series. Mike Clevinger will take the mound on Friday against Charlie Morton.