CLEVELAND - It wasn't easy by any means, but the Cleveland Indians did enough on Wednesday night, topping the Houston Astros 7-6 at Progressive Field pushing their 2017 record to 11-9 on the season.
The offense set the pace with three runs in the first inning, and then every time the Astros got back in the game, the Indians responded with runs on their own to keep the pressure on.
Trevor Bauer went six innings for the Indians, and while both Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw had struggles out of the pen, each did enough along with Cody Allen to shut the door on the one-run win.
As we do every game here's our three takeaways from all the action at the ballpark, as the Indians will look to win the series on Thursday with another 6:10pm affair with the Astros.
1. Response Runs
Response runs has become a catchphrase in baseball, that being runs that are scored the following inning after a team ties the game or in the case of Wednesday night, gets closer.
After the Tribe built a 3-0 lead in the first, Houston clawed back in the game with an Evan Gattis two-run homer in the 4th and while it took an inning, the Indians came back with two in the 5th on a key Michael Brantley single to make it a 5-2 game.
Brian McCann hit another Houston two-run homer to make it 5-4 in the 6th, and again the Indians responded as Carlos Santana slammed a double to right, putting the Indians back up three at 7-4.
They needed every run they would get, as the Astros got two more in the 8th, closing it to 7-6 before Cody Allen got the four-out save to secure the win.
2. Better by the Day
It's been a long road back for Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, but he's looking more and more like the All-Star he was two years back when he was the Indians best player.
The outfielder had a huge two-run single through a drawn in Astros infield in the 5th that put the Indians up three at 5-2.
On the night he was 2-for-4 with a double, single and three runs batted in. He's now hit in 10 straight, and has pushed his average to .318 on the season.
What's more impressive is he's 15-for-42 (.357) in his last 10 games, with four homers and nine runs batted in.
He looks a lot more at ease, and while he said after the game his swing is still 'getting there,' it looks like every day Brantley is nearing the all-star form he was before injuring his shoulder in September of 2015.
3. Bauer's Streak Remains Vs Houston
Indians starter Trevor Bauer went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. His big two mistakes were a pair of Astros two-run bombs to Evan Gattis and Brian McCann that put Houston each time within a run.
His mark though against Houston stays intact, as he's now 6-0 lifetime against the Astros, an oddity that he said is a 'random variation,' and that the streak against the Astros at some point would indeed break.
Wednesday though he was able to grind out six innings, and his last two starts he's been better, earning his first two wins of 2017.
He also has now recorded 16 starts at Progressive Field where he's struck out eight or more batters. His next start will be May 1st on the road at Detroit against the Tigers.