Bauer one-hits KC in seven-inning shutout

August 20th, 2020

Reds starting pitcher recorded the final out of a one-hit shutout and 5-0 victory over the Royals in Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader and peeled his jersey off before greeting catcher . Bauer wanted to show off his custom white T-shirt underneath that depicted a moment from the last time he pitched at Kauffman Stadium.

In his final start for Cleveland before his July 31, 2019, trade to Cincinnati, an angry Bauer fired a baseball toward the center-field fountains at the Kansas City ballpark upon being pulled from the game.

"I get a lot of people online that have quips and all this stuff about ‘go throw another temper tantrum’ or whatever the case is," Bauer said. "I thought it’d be an appropriate little ode to that moment. If you can’t laugh at yourself and make fun of yourself a little bit, life is going to get pretty long and tough."

It had been 11 days since Bauer worked in a game, and even the right-hander wasn't sure how that would affect him. Turns out, Bauer had nothing to worry about. He was masterful throughout and got plenty of offensive boost as Cincinnati split the doubleheader.

While pitching a seven-inning complete game, Bauer gave up one hit and three walks while striking out nine. He didn't allow his lone hit until Adalberto Mondesi's single with two outs in the fifth inning. Bauer’s record improved to 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA over four starts.

"My command was there most of the game," Bauer said. "There were some at-bats where it just left me, and I was behind a little bit sometimes. Overall, I was OK, but I did walk three tonight and in seven innings, that’s too many."

It was a win the Reds felt they needed, following a 4-0 defeat in Game 1 when Royals starter Brad Keller was dominant.

"I think [Keller] should be commended more than we should be frowned upon. But coming back in Game 2, especially with Trevor on, is as important," said Casali, who hit one of the Reds' four home runs in the nightcap. "It's one of those games that we feel like we should win when he's on the mound."

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Bauer set a tone quickly with a four-pitch bottom of the first inning. The strikeouts didn't start accumulating until he struck out all three batters in the third and a stretch of five of six K's. He retired his first nine batters in a row before issuing a walk to open the bottom of the fourth inning. According to Statcast, six of Bauer's strikeouts came via the four-seam fastball.

With 41 strikeouts, Bauer is ranked fifth in the Major Leagues, while teammate Sonny Gray (44) is second behind Cleveland's Shane Bieber (54).

"I think he's just really taking the bull by the horns," Casali said. "I think he's just trying to follow what the rest of our starters are capable of doing. I think he's constantly trying to beat the others and, and vice versa, and I think he's doing a good job."

Bauer's previous outing was Aug. 7 at Milwaukee. He was supposed to start on Saturday vs. the Pirates on one week's rest, but the game was the first of three to be postponed after a Cincinnati player tested positive for COVID-19.

Facing former Reds pitcher Matt Harvey in his Royals debut in the third inning, Nick Castellanos hit a two-out single. Next was Jesse Winker, who continued his scorching stretch with a two-run home run to right field on Harvey's 1-0 pitch. It was Winker's sixth homer over his past five games.

Eugenio Suárez made it back-to-back homers with a drive to center field against Harvey and a 3-0 Reds lead. Solo homers came against Kansas City's bullpen by Castellanos to open the fifth inning and Casali to start the sixth.

All that was left was for Bauer to finish it off and for the second time this season, he completed the second game of a doubleheader while throwing 97 pitches.

"It was nice because early on, he didn’t throw many pitches," Reds manager David Bell said. "He got a lot of easy outs, which really allowed him to complete the game. You get a little bit of a lead like that, he’s on quite a few days’ rest, and the fact that he had a few easy innings where he didn’t throw many pitches made the decision easy to allow him to try to finish the game, and he did."