Tribe Top A's 9-4 Behind Bauer's Career Night; Three Takeaways from the Win
As the temperatures began to drop on Tuesday evening, the Tribe’s bats began to heat up.
The Indians notched their third straight win, and second straight against the Oakland A’s, 9-4. Trevor Bauer took home the win behind what would become a career performance.
The A's got on the board first, and would hold a 3-0 lead as Cleveland rallied for their 11th come-from-behind win this season.
While it initially looked like it would be a slow offensive night for the Tribe, they went on a roll in the bottom of the fourth inning to give Bauer plenty of run support, and themselves enough momentum to pull off the win.
As Cleveland looks to get the series win against the A’s tomorrow, here are our three takeaways from Tuesday.
1. Career Night for Bauer
After picking up the win, Bauer is now 5-4 with a 6.00 ERA.
The biggest criticism of Bauer throughout his career has probably been his consistency, but on Tuesday he showed mastery on the mound.
Heading in to the evening, Bauer’s single game strikeout high for 2017 was nine, while his career high was 13. By the end of his seven innings of work, he had matched that number and then some, with 14 Ks for a new career high.
Bauer ended the night surrendering three runs on seven hits and giving up just one walk. His 14 strikeouts are also the highest single game total in the American League this season.
“He just was really aggressive. I think he really started feeling it," manager Terry Francona said.
“He wasn’t just throwing, he was pitching, but he looked so strong.”
After the win, Bauer said that most of the A's early hits were coming on balls, not strikes, which fueled his motivation. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that Bauer's velocity actually improved as the game went on, (his last pitches clocked out in the high 90s) and Bauer offered a pretty simple explanation as to why.
“It’s just me being really, really, really pissed off,” he said.
It is just the eighth time in Bauer’s career that he has hit double digits in single-game strikeouts.
This was one of only two starts this year where Bauer didn’t surrender a home run. He also struck out the side four times, including three straight times from the fifth through the seventh innings.
Consistency problems can’t be fixed in one day, obviously, but if this Trevor Bauer is around more often than not for the remainder of the season, that will solve some of the bullpen issues the team is currently experiencing.
“I think we’re pitching how we’re capable of. I think we’ve pitched a lot better than the numbers say all year,” Bauer said.
“We’ve had some really bad luck go against us. So hopefully once that turns around, we’ll pitch how we know we’re capable of.”
2. Fourth Inning Heroics
Tuesday night looked like it might be a low-scoring affair for the Tribe where they struggle to get any run support.
Then the fourth inning came around.
Coming in to the bottom of the fourth, the A’s had a 3-0 lead. By the time the inning was over, the Tribe had a one-run advantage.
Francisco Lindor started the inning off with a walk in the lead-off spot. After Michael Brantley struck out, Carlos Santana notched a single.
Another single followed for Edwin Encarnacion and opened the floodgates, scoring Lindor to record the Indians’ first run of the night.
Jose Ramirez added an RBI double of his own, followed by a two-run RBI double for Bradley Zimmer (by the way, given how tall Zimmer is, it’s mind boggling how fast he can run the bases).
The Indians added on to their lead in the fifth inning as Jason Kipnis knocked a 400-foot homer over the center field wall, and Lindor scored on an RBI single from Brantley. Brantley scored on a wild pitch to round out the scoring effort in the inning to give Cleveland a comfortable 7-3 lead.
3. Steaks Continue
For the 15th straight game, the Indians notched at least one home run.
Tonight, it came on that shot from Kipnis over the center field wall in the lead-off spot in the bottom of the fifth inning. Zimmer would also knock his second homer of the year over the right field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Tribe a 9-4 lead.
This is the longest streak since a 15-game stretch between June 23 and July 7 in the 2007 season.
Michael Brantley also lengthened his personal hit streak to 14 games in his first at bat of the night with a single. Brantley ended the night going 2-for-4 from the plate with one RBI.
Throughout his streak, Brantley is batting .345 and has recorded five doubles, five RBIs and seven runs. Brantley’s streak is the longest hit streak by any Indians player this year, and is the fifth longest of his career.
In fact, the last time any Indians player had a streak this long was last year when Mike Napoli had a 16-game hit streak going.