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Bauer + power = Tribe blowout victory

Trevor K's 11 in 6 scoreless frames as bats slug 4 HRs
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- After striking out Twins outfielder Max Kepler to end the sixth inning Monday, Trevor Bauer walked off the mound at Progressive Field to his second standing ovation of the night.

The first round of applause came in in the third inning, after Bobby Wilson was called out on strikes on a 96 mph fastball for the first out of the frame. It marked Bauer's fifth strikeout and 200th of the season -- becoming the 11th pitcher in Indians history to reach the feat, eclipsing the right-hander's previous career high of 196, set last season, earlier in the game.

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CLEVELAND -- After striking out Twins outfielder Max Kepler to end the sixth inning Monday, Trevor Bauer walked off the mound at Progressive Field to his second standing ovation of the night.

The first round of applause came in in the third inning, after Bobby Wilson was called out on strikes on a 96 mph fastball for the first out of the frame. It marked Bauer's fifth strikeout and 200th of the season -- becoming the 11th pitcher in Indians history to reach the feat, eclipsing the right-hander's previous career high of 196, set last season, earlier in the game.

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Bauer's night was over after the Kepler strikeout. He held the Twins to three hits across six shutout innings, while walking three to go with his 11 strikeouts -- leading the charge in a 10-0 victory. The Indians (62-49) improved to 10 games above the second-place Twins (52-59) in the American League Central standings, and the win puts them 13 games above .500 for the first time all year.

"His last pitch was maybe his best fastball of the night," manager Terry Francona said.

Video: MIN@CLE: Bauer strikes out 11 over 6 scoreless frames

The win marks Bauer's second straight win against Minnesota, which he contained to two runs in 6 1/3 innings last Tuesday at Target Field. Both box scores may show a favorable outcome for Bauer, but he said the results were only possible after making key adjustments to Twins hitters -- six of which entered hitting over .300 in their careers against Bauer.

"I threw more fastballs," Bauer said. "I looked at some numbers in-between, found the holes in that approach of theirs and exploited them."

Bauer (11-6) struck out every starter in Minnesota's lineup at least once and Kepler was the last to fall victim. Bauer held the Twins hitless until surrendering a soft line drive single to Jake Cave in the third. A one-out double given up to Jorge Polanco in the sixth was the only legitimate scoring threat allowed by Bauer. Polanco reached third after a flyout, followed by a walk to Miguel Sano. Kepler tried to break Bauer's groove, but couldn't deliver.

"He was good," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Got the pitch count up through six innings, but we just never got a big hit."

Cleveland's offense erupted off Twins starter Kyle Gibson (5-9) in the fourth, with home runs coming from Yonder Alonso and Brandon Guyer. Jason Kipnis went deep with a solo shot in the sixth off former Indians pitcher Matt Belisle, as did Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh with a three-run blast for the designated hitter's 25th of the season.

Video: MIN@CLE: Encarnacion belts a 3-run homer to center

With the win, Bauer improves his season strikeout total to 206, placing him second in the AL, one behind Boston's Chris Sale and surpasses his self-imposed goal set before Spring Training. It also sets his season innings total to a Major League-leading 159 2/3. He also leads all pitchers with a 5.7 WAR, according to Fangraphs.

Bauer admitted the next step for him is 300 strikeouts.

"Maybe not this year," Bauer quipped. "But hopefully next year."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Guyer goes deep: Guyer punctuated the Tribe's four-run fourth off Gibson with a two-run shot for the right-hander's sixth homer of the season, capping off a 1-for-4 showing. The right fielder crushed the 1-1 offering an estimated 359 feet over the towering left-field wall. Alonso (1-for-4) opened the frame with a solo homer, then Kipnis (2-for-3) walked and was driven in on a double from Roberto Perez (1-for-3) -- who scored on Guyer's blast.

Video: MIN@CLE: Guyer belts a 2-run homer to deep left

"He swung the bat good," Francona said. "That's good. And now we got a lefty tomorrow and hopefully he's got a little bit of some timing, so maybe he can get even more dangerous."

Guyer's homer marked his first hit off a right-handed pitcher since 2016. Francona said before the game the plan was to play Guyer the first two games in the series to give him extra at-bats against righties. Guyer entered Monday 5-for-13 against right-handers since July 1 and was 2-for-70 between the Major and Minor Leagues prior to that.

"I'm just happy to be out there, right-lefty," Guyer said. "Any time I'm able to be on that grass and play the game, I'm happy. We won the game, so it's good to be a part of that." 

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kipnis' big play: Aside from Kipnis' two-hit day at the plate, Bauer credited the second baseman for his key defensive stop in the first to start the game.

Leadoff man Joe Mauer ripped a scorching grounder toward shallow right field. Kipnis, who began overshifted on Mauer, ranged to his left, dove and got up to throw the Twins' first baseman out by a few steps.

Video: MIN@CLE: Kipnis makes nice diving stop, throw for out

"Who knows how it turns out if that's a hit," Bauer said. "Because Mauer's on first, now Rosario's up. He has good numbers against me. If he doubles, hits a homer, something, the game might go differently. So, little things like that that change the game that you may not even realize how big they are, because whatever happens after, doesn't happen."

Francona agreed.

"I thought it kind of energized us a little bit," he said. "That was a nice play and it looked like it energized Kip. From there, we played a good game. It started with Trevor and we got our offense in gear and we kind of kept at them."

HE SAID IT
"I'm just hoping I get it. I mean, it took me three years to actually get my first-hit ball after some teammates lost it and I discovered it in the bottom of a drawer two years later. So, honestly, I'm just hoping I get the ball and then I'll figure it out after that." -- Bauer, on receiving his 200th strikeout ball

UP NEXT
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.66 ERA) is expected to start Tuesday for another 7:10 p.m. ET bout at Progressive Field. Carrasco last pitched Aug. 1, against the Twins, fanning 10 batters in 7 1/3 shutout innings en route to a 2-0 Tribe win, and has posted a 1.99 ERA across his last six outings, spanning 31 2/3 frames. Minnesota will counter with lefty Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 2.60).

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. You can follow him on Twitter @Casey_Harrison1.

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer