CLEVELAND -- Indians starter Trevor Bauer continued his dominance against Detroit with another exceptional start on Saturday at Progressive Field.Bauer entered the contest 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season and the right-hander shined again, striking out 11 across 6 1/3 innings in the
CLEVELAND -- Indians starter Trevor Bauer continued his dominance against Detroit with another exceptional start on Saturday at Progressive Field.
Bauer entered the contest 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season and the right-hander shined again, striking out 11 across 6 1/3 innings in the Tribe's 4-1 win, Cleveland's sixth consecutive victory. Bauer allowed one run, scattered five hits and improved to 7-5.
"He's definitely on a mission," shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "I don't know what the mission is, but it's a good mission. I'm happy for him. I'm excited. Hopefully he does this the whole year, so he can help us win."
Bauer's biggest jam came in the first inning when the Tigers loaded the bases after Bauer struck out Leonys Martin and Jeimer Candelario to start the game. Nicholas Castellanos walked, Victor Martinez singled and Niko Goodrum was hit, but the two-out threat was squandered after Bauer struck out James McCann looking.
"One of my mindsets has been [that] I want to throw first-pitch strikes, get to two strikes as quickly as possible," Bauer said. "That helps me keep my pitch-count down and also get my strikeouts. It's a lot easier to do that, and to pick off more of the white of the plate, when you have a lead like that."
Detroit pushed its lone run across in the second and forced Bauer's pitch count to 47 after JaCoby Jones reached on an infield single. Jones stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice fly from Jose Iglesias. Bauer then threw a curveball in the dirt that catcher Roberto Perez was unable to block, allowing Jones to score.
"With most guys, you kind of panic," manager Terry Francona said. "With Trevor, you kind of know that he's going to hold his stuff and go find a way."
Bauer then settled down and retired 10 of the next 12, striking out six in that span. Bauer opened the seventh inning by striking out Iglesias looking on a buckling 80.9-mph knuckle-curve. However, Bauer's night was over after allowing a single to Goodrum.
Bauer has struck out at least 10 batters in six of his last eight starts. He has thrown 56 innings during that span, and held opponents to a .201/.259/.299 slash line with an 83-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Bauer also held a 37.7-percent strikeout rate and a 6.4-percent walk rate in that stretch, and averaged 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Bauer's 11 strikeouts give him 81 against American League Central opponents, eclipsing Astros starter Gerrit Cole's 80 for the most in the Majors against a divisional foe. The start also marked Bauer's seventh 10-plus strikeout game of the season, which leads all AL pitchers and trails only the Nationals' Max Scherzer, who has 10, overall.
"I have a lot of things I can go to that can kind of disguise what I'm trying to do to a hitter or even just get a hitter out multiple different ways," Bauer said. "So, I think I'm a lot better prepared arsenal-wise this year to face the same lineup multiple times in a row or in close succession to each other."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Encarnacion profits from error: The Indians scored three runs off Tigers starter Francisco Liriano in the first inning. Liriano allowed the first four batters to reach, with Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion singling. Ramirez scored Lindor, Encarnacion scored Ramirez, and Encarnacion came home in part from an error by Tigers catcher James McCann.
Encarnacion was running home on a single from Brandon Guyer when McCann was unable to handle the throw home from center fielder Martin, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead.
"The way that I had it kind of secured was my hand was kind of holding it there," McCann said. "I didn't have a grip on the ball, and when [Encarnacion] hit my arm, that kind of rolled the ball out."
Bauer's outing upped his season strikeout total to 140, which ties him with Boston's Chris Sale for most in the American League. It's also the fourth-highest total in franchise history through 16 starts, trailing Bob Feller (152 in 1946), Corey Kluber (149 in 2017) and Sam McDowell (148 in 1965).
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the fifth, Lindor went deep off Alex Wilson for his 18th homer of the season. The hit capped a 2-for-4 showing for the shortstop, who also finished with two runs scored and an RBI.
Lindor's homer came off an 86.1-mph hanging slider that was 3.53 feet above home plate, marking the highest pitch ever hit out by Lindor. He sent the 2-2 offering an estimated 380 feet with a 103 mph exit velocity and 22 degree launch angle, per Statcast™.
"Sometimes you just tip your cap," Wilson said. "There's nothing else I can do right there. The ball's not in the strike zone, up and in, and somehow he got the barrel on it and kept it fair. He's got crazy pop, everybody knows it. It's just a frustrating one to give up, especially to the first guy I face."
HE SAID IT
"I don't know what happened. Today was a weird day. We dropped three or four balls. Some bad luck, and I don't know if it has something to do with this place, or the way we've played here the last couple years. My first year or two here, we didn't lose here, and it went 180 degrees over the last couple years. It's one of those frustrating things. They're obviously a much better team now than they were back then, but they still had a pretty good lineup back then. It was always the pitching side of things. Unless you ran into [Corey] Kluber, you were going to be OK. [Miguel Cabrera] and J.D. [Martinez], when they came here, they hit homers and doubles. They did nothing but damage. But the last couple years, their rotation is one of the best in baseball." -- Wilson, on the Indians' recent success against the Tigers
Right-hander Adam Plutko (3-1, 5.04 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe on Sunday, when the Indians host the Tigers in a 1:10 p.m. ET divisional clash at Progressive Field. This will mark Plutko's first appearance against Detroit since a relief outing in 2016. The Tigers will counter with lefty Matthew Boyd (4-5, 3.63).
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. You can follow him on Twitter @Casey_Harrison1.