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Tribe slugfest backs dominant Bauer

May 30, 2017

CLEVELAND -- The Indians scored seven runs over the course of the fourth and fifth innings off Sonny Gray to back Trevor Bauer's 14-strikeout performance, coming from behind to defeat the Athletics, 9-4, on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.Gray held the Indians scoreless through the first three innings, in which

CLEVELAND -- The Indians scored seven runs over the course of the fourth and fifth innings off Sonny Gray to back Trevor Bauer's 14-strikeout performance, coming from behind to defeat the Athletics, 9-4, on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Gray held the Indians scoreless through the first three innings, in which they went 2-for-10 with six outs via grounder and two strikeouts. In the Tribe's two-inning outburst against Gray, the offense went 7-for-12 with two doubles, a homer, two walks and two stolen bases to grab the lead. Bradley Zimmer led the way with a career-high four RBIs on a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run homer in the eighth.

"Gray was really throwing the ball well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And then when we got the four [runs in the fourth], boy, Trev put his foot on the gas. We talk so much about shutdown innings. When we scored, he went out and he struck out the next nine out of 10. And he was aggressive and rearing back. That was really fun to watch."
That was more than ample support for Bauer, whose career-high 14 strikeouts were his most since striking out 13 on Aug. 19 of last season against the Blue Jays, and a season high this year for an American League pitcher. Bauer allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk in seven innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. Indians pitchers combined to strike out 19 batters, tying a franchise record for a nine-inning game.
• Bauer dominates A's with curveball

"They have some strikeout guys, for sure, and we do strike out some, but here recently we've been striking out too much, and when you don't put the ball in play you don't give yourself a chance," said A's manager Bob Melvin, whose club has compiled 65 strikeouts in five games on this road trip. "We can't have strikeouts up and down. We've talked about the fact that when you don't hit home runs you gotta find other ways to win, and we're having a tough time doing that."
Matt Joyce drove in two runs off Bauer and Ryon Healy added an RBI double in the fourth. The A's scored another run in the eighth on an error from Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

Gray lasted just 4 2/3 innings and was handed his second loss of the season after he allowed the seven runs on nine hits, striking out three on 92 pitches.
Brantley says no: After the A's scored two runs off Bauer in the top of the fourth, the right-hander was in danger of surrendering a three-run inning when Adam Rosales sent a single past Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor with Healy on second. Healy was waved around third, but Indians left fielder Michael Brantley fired a laser to catcher Roberto Perez to nab Healy at the plate. Per Statcast™, Brantley's throw was 94.4 mph, his second-hardest throw since 2015.
"I thought that was a game-changer right there," Perez said. "That ball was hit really hard and he threw to home plate and we got him, and we got out of the inning. … It's the first time I've seen him have some carry [on a throw] like that."

Indians swing momentum: Following the A's two-run fourth inning, the Indians followed with a big frame of their own in the bottom half. After Lindor drew a leadoff walk, the Indians rattled off four straight hits, beginning with a one-out bunt single from Carlos Santana. Edwin Encarnacion drove in the team's first run with an RBI single, and back-to-back doubles from Ramirez and Zimmer gave the Indians the 4-3 lead.

"We needed baserunners," said Francona, referring to Santana's bunt single. "We talk so much about keeping the line moving, and we did that. Then, once we did it, we kept doing it and it ended up being a really good night."
"I definitely didn't throw enough strikes with my fastball, I was mostly behind in counts," Gray said, "and when I did get ahead my slider was not as good as it has been and I wasn't able to put guys away."
"I like my strikeouts. I mean, shoot, half the balls they put in play tonight were hits. So, I decided after the fourth I just wasn't going to let them hit the ball anymore." -- Bauer
• Brantley extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single to right in the first inning. Brantley's streak is the longest active streak by an Indians player this season. The longest hitting streak of Brantley's career was a 22-gamer from May 20, 2012 to June 15, 2012.

• With Jason Kipnis' fifth-inning home run, the Indians have now homered in 15 straight games dating back to May 14, tying the team's longest streak since 2007. The Indians have hit 27 total home runs in their last 15 games.

• The 19 strikeouts that the Indians' pitching staff recorded in the game ties the franchise record for a nine-inning game. The record was previously set on May 13, 2015, when Corey Kluber struck out a career-high 18 batters and Cody Allen struck out another in a 2-0 win against the Cardinals. For the A's, who watched No. 1 and 2 batters Rajai Davis and Trevor Plouffe strike out four times each, the 19 strikeouts tie a franchise record (since 1901) for most in a nine-inning game (June, 24, 1997 at Seattle).
"It's not what we want," Plouffe said. "Unfortunately we haven't been scoring a lot of runs, and that's because we're not getting on base, we're not putting the ball in play a lot, and I'm a big part of that. I've been striking out a ton, and that's just not part of my game. We gotta put the ball in play more and let the big guys hit the homers."

With runners at the corners and no outs in the top of the second, Joyce hit a slow grounder to the right side, where Encarnacion fielded the ball and threw to Kipnis covering at first. Joyce was ruled safe after the first-base umpire signaled that Kipnis' foot came off the bag. Francona challenged the play, and after a review lasting one minute and 10 seconds, the call was overturned. Joyce was credited with an RBI groundout.

Athletics: Lefty Sean Manaea, who is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last two starts, returns to the mound Wednesday for a start against the Indians at Progressive Field, with first pitch scheduled for 3:10 p.m. PT. Manaea faced Cleveland once as a rookie last year, firing seven innings of one-run ball in a win at home on Aug. 23.
Indians: Right-hander Mike Clevinger (2-1, 2.82 ERA) will get the nod for Wednesday's 6:10 p.m. ET tilt against the A's. Clevinger is coming off his worst outing of the season, where he allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings against the Royals on Friday.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

William Kosileski is a reporter for based in Cleveland who covered the Indians on Tuesday.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010.