Bauer still perfect against Astros in Indians’ 5-3 win
HOUSTON -- Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer again pitched effectively enough against an opponent he has tormented throughout his career.
All he required for another desirable result was a bit of a power surge in support, one sparkling defensive play, and the usual brilliance from the back end of the bullpen.
Backed by three home runs, Bauer maintained his perfect record against the Houston Astros in the Indians’ 5-3 victory on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
Edwin Encarnacion, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall all homered off Astros right-hander Charlie Morton (5-3), who had his four-start winning streak snapped.
Encarnacion smacked a game-tying, two-run blast in the fourth inning for his seventh home run. Kipnis and Chisenhall followed with solo shots in the fifth and sixth for their third and sixth homers, respectively, for the Indians (21-19), who did their damage the second time through the order against Morton.
Morton allowed eight hits and two walks starting with two outs in the third inning until he was pulled with one out in the fifth. Five hits went for extra bases.
“His velocity out of the shoot, he’s throwing really well,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Morton. “Just think that we got some balls up a little bit that we could do something with.”
Bauer (4-4) did allow solo home runs to Josh Reddick in the third inning and Carlos Correa in the sixth but nevertheless improved to 7-0 in seven career starts against the Astros (29-13), who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
“I don’t know. I just happen to be on a good run right now I guess,” Bauer said of his success against the Astros. “It will turn around at some point too. It’s not always going to be that way. So, enjoy it while it’s going my way.”
Bauer also surrendered a run-scoring single to Carlos Beltran in the first inning yet pitched two outs into the sixth, allowing three runs, five hits and one walk.
The Indians’ vaunted bullpen did the rest, with left-hander Boone Logan, right-hander Brian Shaw, southpaw Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen combining to work 3 1/3 hitless innings. Allen recorded his 11th save with a perfect ninth.
“They have a good bullpen,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of the Indians. “They have a World Series-caliber bullpen. We have seen it. They are tough to beat. I don’t think they have been beat after the sixth inning with the lead. I think that shows the rest of the league is struggling as well.”
to both outs in an inning and strikes in a plate appearance.
After Bauer struck out George Springer and Reddick to open the bottom of the first inning, Jose Altuve and Correa reached via a single and a walk, respectively, before Beltran slapped an RBI single to center field that scored Altuve.
Two innings later, Reddick struck while facing an 0-2 count, lining his sixth home run into the right-field seats to double the Astros’ lead to 2-0. But as he did in the first inning when he allowed his first run, Bauer struck out the side in the third.
By the end of the fifth, he had already accumulated a season-high nine strikeouts. Just prior to the Correa homer, shortstop Francisco Lindor produced a wondrous defensive effort to smother a grounder and retire the speedy Altuve.
Cleveland led 3-2 thanks to the power of Encarnacion and Kipnis. With one out in the sixth, Chisenhall added to the display, upping the lead to 4-2. One walk to Bradley Zimmer later and Morton was done.
“My stuff is plenty good to be OK later in the game, it’s just not,” Morton said. “It’s just not playing.”
NOTES: Indians OF Austin Jackson (right big toe hyperextension) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus at Louisville. Jackson served as the designated hitter and finished 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. Jackson is scheduled to play again Sunday and Tuesday before his status is re-evaluated. ... Astros RHP Collin McHugh does not have a timetable for his return from a right elbow impingement. McHugh opened the season on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis and suffered the latter injury during his first rehab appearance. He was initially scheduled to be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks. ... Indians RHP Corey Kluber will throw a simulated game on Saturday at Progressive Field against hitters from Class A Lake County. Kluber is scheduled for two innings and, depending on his response, could pitch in a rehab game for his next outing. Kluber was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 3 with a lower back strain. ... Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session and is on pace to make his next start on Tuesday in Cincinnati. He left his previous start on May 15 with left pectoral tightness.