CHICAGO -- Indians starter Trevor Bauer joined elite company Wednesday night. By striking out 12 White Sox hitters, Bauer became just the third pitcher in Cleveland history to whiff at least 10 in four straight starts, joining Hall of Famer Bob Feller and two-time American League Cy Young Award winner
CHICAGO -- Indians starter Trevor Bauer joined elite company Wednesday night. By striking out 12 White Sox hitters, Bauer became just the third pitcher in Cleveland history to whiff at least 10 in four straight starts, joining Hall of Famer Bob Feller and two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.
However, Bauer was outdueled by White Sox starter Dylan Covey as Cleveland's bats couldn't come up with a big hit late in a 3-2 loss at Guaranteed Rate Field. Bauer gave up only four hits in 7 2/3 innings, but the Indians came up just short despite 14 knocks.
Bauer, for his part, seemed unimpressed with his strikeout streak.
"What's the record?" he asked when reporters brought it up. After no one knew the answer, Bauer continued, "It'll mean something when I break it."
The right-hander nearly threw a complete game in the loss, hurling 118 pitches and 80 strikes. Bauer said all of his pitches were working and he would not have changed the way he approached White Sox hitters.
"It's not like I'm getting hit or anything," Bauer said. "I'm missing a lot of bats, limiting contact, keeping the ball in the yard, not walking many people. It was a great outing."
The issue, as it was in Tuesday's 5-1 loss, was the Indians' offense. Cleveland tallied 10 more hits than the White Sox but left nine men on base and went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
"We got our hits but couldn't string enough together," manager Terry Francona said. "[Covey] made some pitches. He sinks the ball really well, so you're always a pitch away from getting that ground ball. I thought he pitched a pretty good game, we just couldn't string enough hits today."
Cleveland had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth. Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley led off with singles, forcing Covey from the game to the delight of Indians hitters. After Jose Ramirez grounded out, Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso then drove them home with a single and a double, respectively, off reliever Jace Fry.
The Indians likely could have tied the game on Alonso's double, as Rajai Davis, who was pinch-running for Encarnacion, attempted to steal second on the RBI extra-base hit. Davis, however, couldn't see exactly where the ball went as he rounded second, and was forced to stop at third, where he was stranded.
"I could hear it, but after that you don't know what it is unless you take a peek in," Davis said. "If you're trying to be safe, you can't be peeking in, especially in that time of the game. You can't get thrown out, or I don't wanna be thrown out, so I'm focused on one thing, that's it."
"He picked it up right away," Francona said. "It's just the one place on the field that's directly behind him, and he obviously scores if he sees it. It's the one place where it's probably impossible for him to see. It's all the way over his right shoulder."
With Davis on third and pinch-runner Erik Gonzalez on second for Alonso, Melky Cabrera came up with Cleveland trailing by just one run. But Cabrera struck out swinging and Jason Kipnis followed with another whiff, ending the threat.
In the ninth, Cleveland put two men on again when pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall and Lindor both singled with one out. But Brantley grounded into a game-ending double play started by second baseman Yoan Moncada.
The Indians also left two runners on base in the first, fourth and sixth innings. In the fifth and seventh innings, Cleveland grounded into seldom-seen double plays, hitting sharp ground balls to first baseman Jose Abreu, who then threw to second in the fifth and third in the seventh for tag plays.
"It felt like we had good at-bats, people were on base, we just couldn't come through," Lindor said. "We either rolled over or tried to do too much."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
One for three: The eighth inning was not the only time Alonso came to bat with two men on. In the first inning, Brantley and Ramirez were in scoring position, and in the sixth, they were both on base again. However, Alonso struck out looking in the first and popped up weakly in the sixth.
Ramirez extended his on-base streak to 21 games with his first-inning single. Over the course of the streak, which began on May 22, Ramirez is hitting .291/.394/.620 with six home runs and 13 RBIs.
HE SAID IT
"He's a good, young, developing pitcher. Coming into the game, you look at the OPS against, and it's like [.575]. I mean, it's not a huge sample yet because he's a young kid, but he's doing a good job against us." -- Francona, on Covey
The Indians conclude their four-game series with the White Sox on Thursday at 2:10 p.m. ET as they send Mike Clevinger to the hill at Guaranteed Rate Field. Clevinger pitched a gem the last time he faced Chicago in a win on May 29, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up one run on four hits while striking out seven. Cleveland will face White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, who will be making his second start of the season following a shoulder injury.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.