CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offensive roller coaster began to climb again on Wednesday night. One game after being quieted by the Rangers, Cleveland had contributions up and down its order to back a strong outing by Trevor Bauer, netting a 5-3 win at Progressive Field.Michael Brantley delivered a pair of
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' offensive roller coaster began to climb again on Wednesday night. One game after being quieted by the Rangers, Cleveland had contributions up and down its order to back a strong outing by Trevor Bauer, netting a 5-3 win at Progressive Field.
Michael Brantley delivered a pair of RBI singles for the American League Central-leading Tribe, which also received run-scoring hits from Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez in the team's second win in this four-game set with Texas. The Indians have a chance to win the series on Thursday.
"It's a good way to play when you're getting contributions [up and down the lineup]," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You've got guys on base. You're not going to cash in all the time like we didn't [at times]. But we kept putting pressure and fortunately got a couple tack-on runs to make the ninth inning not quite as nerve-wracking as it could have been."
Rangers ace Yu Darvish took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings, in which he struck out six and walked one. The unearned run came in the first inning, when an error by left fielder Nomar Mazara helped the Tribe get its lineup going. Brantley and Ramirez each came through with RBI singles off Darvish in the third.
"I think he was [struggling] to find a rhythm with his off-speed stuff," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of Darvish. "It wasn't as dynamic as we've seen in the past. But really, the four-seam fastball and the sinker were probably the best we've seen all year. He didn't break out the cutter until late. I thought he did a fine job with those three pitches."
• Darvish solid, but lack of run support continues
Bauer picked up the win behind 6 1/3 solid innings of work. The right-hander did not relinquish a hit until the fourth inning, and his lone setback was a solo homer from Robinson Chirinos in the fifth. Chirinos, who has 12 shots on the season, has homered in four consecutive games and has seven long balls in his past 10 games. Bauer struck out three and walked one.
• Reliance on four-seamer, curve working for Bauer
Armed with a four-run lead, the Indians handed the ball to closer Cody Allen in the ninth, marking his third straight night of work. Elvis Andrus sent Allen's second pitch over the center-field wall for a solo home run to cut Cleveland's lead to 5-2, and Rougned Odor later added an RBI single. Allen dodged any more harm to seal the win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yes way, Jose:Adrian Beltre played the hero Tuesday night with a game-deciding home run, and the veteran came inches away from a critical hit on Wednesday. With one out and runners on first and second, Beltre pulled a sharp grounder up the third-base line. Ramirez reacted with a quick dive to his right to snare the ball, and then fired to first from foul ground for an electrifying out. The runners each moved up a base, but Bauer followed with a groundout off the bat of Mazara to escape any damage.
"The play that Jose made kind of saved that inning," Bauer said. "If that ball rattles around in the corner, it's at least one run, maybe two. It's probably a double, guys on second and third and one out. And the inning kind of spirals from there. I got a lot of help from the defense."
Mazara's misplay:Jason Kipnis lofted Darvish's fifth pitch of the night high and deep to left field for what looked to be a routine out. Mazara drifted under the ball -- one that came with a 96-percent catch probability, per Statcast™ -- but did not finish the play. The ball nicked the end of the left fielder's glove, falling to the warning track and allowing Kipnis to sprint to second. Lindor then capitalized on the error by delivering an RBI single that got the Indians offense going.
"I haven't talked to [Mazara] about that one," Banister said. "It looked like he got turned around, and by the time he picked the ball up again, it went off his glove."
"Huge play, that Ramirez play. That ball down the line off Adrian's bat, I think we had runners on first and second, [Ramirez] was able to record the out there across the diamond, and we were unable to capitalize on anything else."
-- Banister, on Ramirez's diving stop in the sixth
"Four runs, we usually do. I wanted him to have a bit of wiggle room. I'd rather him be down tomorrow for a noon game, because we've got a lot of baseball this weekend [in Detroit]. If we're going to give him a [break], I wanted it to be tomorrow."
-- Francona, on going with Allen in the ninth inning
FOUR STARS FOR ZIMMER
On Statcast™'s recently unveiled sprint speed leaderboard, Indians rookie Bradley Zimmer checked in as baseball's third-fastest player with an average rate of 29.8 feet per second. In the fourth inning, Zimmer flashed his speed on a highlight-reel catch in center field. Shin-Soo Choo pulled a pitch from Bauer into the right-center gap, but Zimmer closed in fast and made a sliding grab to rob the Rangers outfielder of an extra-base hit. Per Statcast™, the play had a 46-percent catch probability, making that a four-star play for Zimmer.
"That was a really nice play," Francona said. "We've talked about it several times, he's done a really good job in center field. What's nice is, normally with younger guys, as long as they stay healthy, they're going to get better as you get to know the league and things like that, which is really exciting."
Rangers: The Rangers will activate right-hander Andrew Cashner (3-6, 3.50 ERA) from the disabled list (oblique strain) to start Thursday's 11:10 a.m. CT series finale against the Indians at Progressive FIeld. Cashner will make his first start since June 14 against the Astros, where he allowed four runs on 10 hits in four innings.
Indians: Ace Corey Kluber (6-2, 3.24 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe in Thursday's finale against the Rangers at 12:10 p.m. ET. Kluber is riding a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings, has racked up at least 10 strikeouts in three straight starts and has a 1.29 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 35 innings in June.
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.