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Clutch Ramirez lifts Bauer (11 K's) in wild win

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer flashed a thumbs-up to manager Terry Francona as he walked into the Indians' dugout after the top of the sixth inning Monday night. Francona answered with the same gesture, indicating that the pitcher had the go-ahead to return to the mound.

Following the decision to leave Bauer in the game, things nearly unraveled on the Tribe, but a late push by the offense powered a 7-5 victory over the Rangers at Progressive Field. Jose Ramirez delivered two run-scoring hits within a five-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings, helping Cleveland pick up a win in the opener of its three-game series.

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CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer flashed a thumbs-up to manager Terry Francona as he walked into the Indians' dugout after the top of the sixth inning Monday night. Francona answered with the same gesture, indicating that the pitcher had the go-ahead to return to the mound.

Following the decision to leave Bauer in the game, things nearly unraveled on the Tribe, but a late push by the offense powered a 7-5 victory over the Rangers at Progressive Field. Jose Ramirez delivered two run-scoring hits within a five-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings, helping Cleveland pick up a win in the opener of its three-game series.

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Video: TEX@CLE: Ramirez lines go-ahead RBI single to left

"That was a hard game to win," Francona said. "But, we came back every time they scored. That's good. That's a good quality win."

Bauer was strong over his 6 2/3 innings, piling up a season-high 11 punchouts in his 10th career double-digit strikeout performance. Over the first six frames, the right-hander limited Texas to a run-scoring groundout and logged 111 pitches.

Video: TEX@CLE: Bauer K's 11 across 6 2/3 frames vs. Rangers

With the Indians holding a 2-1 lead, the top of the seventh was set to open with the Nos. 6-8 hitters in the Rangers' lineup. Prior to that frame, Bauer held that segment of the order to an 0-for-6 showing with six strikeouts. The righty was holding his velocity and his stuff was not dropping off, convincing Francona to stick by him.

"It's a tough decision on his part, because I threw so many pitches early," Bauer said. "I was kind of fighting an uphill battle to try to get through seven. Something that's important to me is being able to make it through seven this year. So, I really appreciated him sending me out. Unfortunately, I didn't reward the decision."

Bauer showcases filthy cheese with strikeout 

Bauer began the seventh by inducing a groundout and adding another punchout to his line. Then, in a 2-1 count to Robinson Chirinos, Bauer opted to fire a cutter low and outside to the Rangers' catcher. Over the 2015-18 seasons, Chirinos had a .183 average and .313 slugging percentage with no home runs on all fastballs to that part of the strike zone, per Statcast™.

Chirinos offered at the pitch -- Bauer's 122nd of the night -- connected, and sent it to the opposite field for a game-tying solo homer.

Video: TEX@CLE: Chirinos launches game-tying solo HR in 7th

Bauer received a new baseball from home-plate umpire Gerry Davis and began flipping it in the air in frustration on the mound, as Francona strolled through the infield to pull the pitcher from the contest.

"That was a good pitch -- one of the better cutters I threw all night," said Bauer, who has a 2.45 ERA through six starts this season. "Down and away, and he hit it. So, you tip your cap to him. Sometimes hitters hit good pitches."

The Indians' offense -- held to a pair of runs by lefty Cole Hamels in his five innings -- responded with three straight singles in the home half of the seventh. The last in that series from Ramirez gave the Tribe a short-lived, 3-2, lead, as lefty Tyler Olson allowed two Texas runs in the eighth.

Cleveland's lineup, which has been cold for much of the season's first month, kept its foot on the gas against the Rangers' bullpen.

Facing righty Chris Martin, Francisco Lindor tied the game with an infield single and Ramirez followed two batters later with a double to the right-field wall to put the Indians ahead for good. Yonder Alonso then added a two-run single to right field against Jesse Chavez to help Cleveland pull away for the win.

Video: TEX@CLE: Alonso smacks a 2-run single to right field

"That's the type of team we are," Alonso said. "We're going to respond."

Alonso's 'little warriors' helping him bust slump 

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Believeau-land: Playing a role in the decision to stick with Bauer for the seventh was the absence of relief ace Andrew Miller (10-day disabled list). Along those same lines, closer Cody Allen fought through 41 pitches between the eighth and ninth innings, leading to a two-on, two-out situation in the ninth. Francona handed the ball to lefty Jeff Beliveau, who struck out slugger Joey Gallo to end the game. It was Beliveau's first Major League save since Sept. 14, 2014.

Video: TEX@CLE: Beliveau strikes out Gallo, tallies 1st save

"It's the stuff you dream about," said Beliveau, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. "My heart was pumping a little more than usual. I couldn't throw a curveball for a strike. I went 3-0 on him and then kind of just got aggressive. I didn't want to walk him. That's the last thing I wanted to do. I have a lot of good fielders behind me. These guys are great ... so put it in play. He decided to take it."

Run, Jose, run: Ramirez used his legs to manufacture a run for the Tribe in the fourth. First, Ramirez struck out swinging, but reached first on a wild pitch. After Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch, Ramirez moved up to second. He then used some heads-up running to score on a fielder's choice groundout off the bat of Brandon Guyer. When Rangers second baseman Drew Robinson fumbled the transfer while trying to turn two on the play, Ramirez sprinted around third and scored, pulling the game into a 1-1 tie.

Video: TEX@CLE: Ramirez crosses the dish on a fielding error

"Very heads up," Francona said of Ramirez's running. "He and [third-base coach Mike Sarbuagh]. Sarby can't send him, or can't help him if he's not [aware of the situation]. Josey really sees the field good. We've always said that. His clock [is good]. He sees everything really well."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Edwin Encarnacion typically serves as Cleveland's designated hitter, but received a rare start at first base with Alonso out of the lineup on Monday. With the Tribe holding a 2-1 lead and a runner on first in the sixth, Jurickson Profar sent a sharp grounder up the first-base line with a 99-mph exit velocity, per Statcast™. Encarnacion dropped to a knee, quickly snared the ball with a backhand grab and then slapped his glove on the base for the out. It was a potential run-saving play, as Profar likely would've had an extra-base hit.

Video: TEX@CLE: Encarnacion snags Profar's hard-hit liner

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Jason Kipnis delivered an RBI double in the fifth, but the play included a replay challenge by the Rangers, who felt Chirinos got the tag on Bradley Zimmer before he slid across home plate. The ruling stood as called. On the play, Zimmer went from second to home in 10.8 seconds and hit a Sprint Speed of 29.7 feet per second, according to Statcast™.

Video: TEX@CLE: Zimmer beats tag at the plate after review

UP NEXT
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (2-0, 2.56 ERA) will look to keep his strong start going on Tuesday, when the Indians host the Rangers in a 6:10 p.m. ET tilt at Progressive Field. Clevinger is 13-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 26 starts over the past two seasons. Righty Doug Fister, who is 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 career starts against Cleveland, is slated to start for Texas.

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 Facebook.

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