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Bauer surge: Job in jeopardy, Trevor twirls gem

With Tribe likely to trim 6-man rotation soon, right-hander goes 8 innings
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- With the Indians' current six-man starting rotation likely to soon dwindle down to five, Trevor Bauer entered Thursday's game against the Angels at Progressive Field needing a strong outing. As he walked to the dugout after recording the final out in the eighth inning, he had done exactly that.

Pitching with his rotation life potentially on the line, Bauer delivered one of his best performances of the season, going eight innings and only allowing one run, seven hits and one walk. Bauer struck out six and worked through three late jams to pick up his ninth win and lead the Indians to a 2-1 victory, their seventh in a row.

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CLEVELAND -- With the Indians' current six-man starting rotation likely to soon dwindle down to five, Trevor Bauer entered Thursday's game against the Angels at Progressive Field needing a strong outing. As he walked to the dugout after recording the final out in the eighth inning, he had done exactly that.

Pitching with his rotation life potentially on the line, Bauer delivered one of his best performances of the season, going eight innings and only allowing one run, seven hits and one walk. Bauer struck out six and worked through three late jams to pick up his ninth win and lead the Indians to a 2-1 victory, their seventh in a row.

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"Boy, did he clutch up," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He had to get himself out of a couple innings. He competed like crazy. On a day when, I don't know, he maybe struck out a handful of guys. Man, did he pitch really well. I think the best thing of all was just the way he competed. He really got after it."

Through his first four frames, Bauer faced the minimum while only allowing one hit and issuing his only walk of the afternoon. He allowed his lone run in the fifth -- an RBI single from C.J. Cron -- before stranding two runners later that inning and another one in the sixth.

But perhaps Bauer's best innings were his final two. After he allowed back-to-back knocks to start the seventh to put runners at second and third with no outs, Bauer crouched behind the mound with his head down. The right-hander got back up to his feet and returned to the mound to face the situation. He ended up getting out of the inning unscathed, as he retired Cron on a grounder to third, Yunel Escobar on a swinging strikeout and Kaleb Cowart on a groundout to shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Video: LAA@CLE: Bauer retires Cowart to leave two men on

"That was pretty cool, the way he stepped out on the mound, went behind the mound, got down and composed himself," Lindor said. "[He] went out and got Cron and the rest of the guys. It was pretty fun to watch. I was pretty pumped up."

"[Francona] having the confidence in me to get out of it was huge," Bauer added. "Coming out of the game never crossed my mind. It was kind of one of those things where it's like, 'All right, I've got one of two options. It's either give up runs here and we probably lose or I find some way to get out of it.' Thankfully it worked out. I was able to wiggle my way out."

Francona sent Bauer back out to the mound with 109 pitches under his belt for the eighth inning to face the top of the Angels' order. Bauer once again got the job done, working a 1-2-3 inning on seven pitches before leaving to a thunderous ovation from the crowd.

Video: LAA@CLE: Francona on 2-1 win over Angels

"I was OK with his pitches," Francona said. "I don't want somebody to ever give up runs if they're tired. I don't think that's fair to them. He was fine. As you could tell, he was fine. He probably could've gone out for the ninth. It seemed like he got stronger as he went. He made some pitches when he had to. That's probably an understatement."

When asked about the state of the Indians' starting rotation, Bauer said that he does not allow outside noise to get in the way of doing his job on the mound.

"I don't know," Bauer said. "That's not my decision. I pitch when they tell me and where they tell me and to who they tell me. That's my job."

William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer