CHICAGO -- Through six innings Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, all was going well for the Indians. Trevor Bauer was dominating, Jose Ramirez hit his 34th home run and Cleveland looked on its way to an easy and painless victory.But that win ended up bittersweet, for even though the
CHICAGO -- Through six innings Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, all was going well for the Indians. Trevor Bauer was dominating, Jose Ramirez hit his 34th home run and Cleveland looked on its way to an easy and painless victory.
But that win ended up bittersweet, for even though the Indians evened the series with a 3-1 win over the White Sox, Bauer left the game in the seventh inning after taking a Jose Abreu line drive off his right ankle. Bauer fell to the ground and walked off the field under his own power, but did so with a noticeable limp.
Prior to the injury Bauer dominated the White Sox lineup, setting Chicago down in order in five of his six full innings. He finished the night with 6 1/3 frames, allowing one run on two hits while striking out eight.
"He was tremendous. A lot of deep counts, but his stuff was phenomenal," manager Terry Francona said. "When the ball hit him in the ankle, it ended his night probably a hitter or two before we would have taken him out."
Immediately following Bauer's departure, reliever Brad Hand entered into a rocky situation. Hand threw nine straight balls to start his appearance, then rebounded to strike out the next two hitters and end the seventh. He pitched the eighth as well and didn't allow a baserunner.
Since coming over from the Padres, Hand has been solid. The veteran left-hander had only walked one batter in 10 innings with Cleveland entering Saturday while giving up two runs on seven hits.
Even though relievers are allowed to throw as many warmup pitches as they want after another pitcher leaves with an injury, Hand had been warming up in the bullpen before Bauer left and passed on taking more warmups on the field, he said.
"I'd already started throwing at the beginning of that inning, so I felt like I threw enough pitches to be ready," Hand said. "I felt fine, but in those situations you can never take enough pitches. It's just a weird situation.
"You can probably throw more when you're warming up in the bullpen, but you don't wanna throw 30 pitches. Going eight straight balls, maybe I didn't throw enough pitches given what it was. But I was able to come back and get the next two guys."
Bauer didn't need much run support but got some in a big way in the sixth inning, when Michael Brantley and Ramirez clubbed back-to-back solo homers to put Cleveland in front 3-1. Brantley's home run was his 12th of the season and just his second in two months.
Ramirez, however, continued to pursue Boston's J.D. Martinez for the American League home run lead. Martinez hit his 36th and 37th against the Orioles on Saturday night, placing him three ahead of Ramirez. But Ramirez broke a tie with Oakland's Khris Davis for second place with his solo shot.
"[Shields] early on was throwing his pitches well, but later on, we were able to make adjustments to how he was mixing his pitches and things like that," Ramirez said through a team interpreter.
Ramirez leads the American League in stolen bases with 27 and is aiming to become the first player since Chuck Klein in 1932 to lead his league in both home runs and steals. He'd be the fourth player ever to finish a season in first for both categories, joining Klein, Ty Cobb and Jimmy Sheckard.
"That's really not on my mind," Ramirez said of the home run race and 30-30 club. "I really don't have that in my head. What I do is just try and show up day by day, take it day by day, and if that happens and I'm in the 30-30 club, then that's great."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A saving grace:Cody Allen locked down the victory in the ninth for the Indians, earning his first save since July 31. Allen now has 22 saves on the year, but nearly served up a game-tying home run to Friday night's hero for Chicago, Daniel Palka. Palka drove a ball to the warning track in center field, but Greg Allen made the catch at the wall.
"I would definitely take pitching well in the eighth inning over pitching just OK in the ninth," Cody Allen said. "Just to have that feeling of helping your team win a ballgame, because there's plenty of guys down in that bullpen that can pitch a game out.
"The one thing that this bullpen's always done over the years is just pass the baton off to the next guy, and that's something we've been able to do at times this year. Now, Brad and Adam [Cimber] and getting Andrew [Miller] back where he needs to be, I think you'll start to see a little fluidity down there."
Bauer has thrown 100 or more pitches in each of his 25 starts this season, the longest streak by an Indians pitcher since 1988, the first year accurate pitch count data became available.
HE SAID IT
"I wouldn't call it fun. I'd call it impressive, because I've been there before where it just seems like nothing's going right, timing's way off. It's almost like you forget how to throw a baseball. But to lock it back in, in a big spot like that against some good hitters, it's impressive." -- Cody Allen, on Brad Hand's seventh inning.
The Indians will conclude their three-game series with the White Sox on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. ET. Carlos Carrasco (13-6, 3.69 ERA) will start for the Indians coming off an outing against the Twins in which he gave up a season-high 10 hits. Carrasco last faced the White Sox on June 11, pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing two hits with 11 strikeouts. Dylan Covey (4-8, 5.58) will counter for Chicago.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.