KANSAS CITY -- The first two innings provided all the fireworks the Indians needed this Independence Day.
The Tribe snuck past the Royals, 3-2, Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium to complete the sweep over their divisional foe. They logged just four hits all night, and didn't score after the second inning, but starter Trevor Bauer made sure that was enough.
Bauer tossed 7 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out eight, a sharp outing on a night when the offense was relatively quiet. He was by no means perfect, but was able to work out of any trouble he got into.
"I thought he was good … they had some opportunities, and he kind of buckled down," manager Terry Francona said. "They made him work, but he was up to it."
The offense got off to a quick start before stalling, as Francisco Lindor walked to start the game, and was doubled in by Michael Brantley in the next at-bat. Brantley scored when Edwin Encarnacion lofted a sacrifice fly to center.
Cleveland got right back at it in the second, as another leadoff walk -- this time to Jason Kipnis -- resulted in a score after a walk, a sacrifice bunt and another sacrifice fly. Despite having recorded only one hit, they were already up 3-0.
Bauer got into some trouble in the eighth, when Whit Merrifield led off with a deep double to left. After Rosell Herrera flied out, Merrifield took off for third during the next at-bat. Bauer's pitch was a bit erratic, coming in close to the chest of Salvador Perez, but catcher Roberto Perez threw down to Jose Ramirez in time to catch Merrifield stealing and end the rally.
"That was a big, big play in the game," Francona said. "If he gets to third with less than two outs, we got to play the infield in, they've got a good hitter up. That was a really good play."
Perez said postgame that he was going to call a curveball on the pitch, but when he saw Merrifield dancing with a lead off second, he called for the heater up and in.
"He gave me the sign pretty much," Perez said. "He was being aggressive and faking he was gonna try to steal. Bauer, he threw a lot of breaking balls, and I just called fastball up and in. I thought that was the game right there."
Merrifield had been 9-for-9 stealing third this season and 19-for-20 in his career before being caught by Perez.
The Tribe was able to navigate past Royals starter Trevor Oaks, but largely couldn't crack the code against the team of relievers called on after him. Heath Fillmyer, making just his third appearance in the Majors, threw three no-hit innings. Tim Hill followed with a no-hit frame, and Wily Peralta surrendered two with two outs in the ninth.
Cleveland closer Cody Allen picked up save No. 18 on the season, but more notably, No. 140 in his career with the Indians. He passes Bob Wickman for the all-time franchise record, after tying him on Tuesday.
It didn't come easy, though, as a one-out Alex Gordon double spelled some trouble. Allen did not crack, however, as he struck out the last two Royals to end the game and receive a water cooler bath from his teammates.
"This is something I'm gonna be extremely proud of, and I am extremely proud of," Allen said. "It's one of the things that -- hopefully I get to do a few more -- I get to hang my hat on for my career, get to look back on. This will be one of those trademark moments."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the fifth, Kansas City strung together a few hits and a Merrifield sacrifice fly cut Cleveland's lead to 3-2. With runners on first and second, the Royals' Perez stepped to the plate with a chance to tie the game. Bauer would not yield another run, however, getting Perez to strike out on a ball that bounced well in front of home plate.
HE SAID IT
"I should be an All-Star. I imagine I will be, and if I'm not, they didn't do it right." -- Bauer, on his prospects of being selected for this year's Midsummer Classic
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (8-5, 4.24 ERA) will make his return to the Tribe rotation against the A's at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Progressive Field. Carrasco had started 15 games for Cleveland before taking a line drive off his throwing elbow and hitting the disabled list. Righty Paul Blackburn (2-2, 6.46 ERA) will go for Oakland.