Indians try to finish the first half strong

Brantley went 3-4 with a solo home run last time he faced Dan Straily

Ken Blaze/Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

If not for a high pitch count, Trevor Bauer might have gotten the chance to complete the Cleveland Indians’ first no-hitter in 34 years on April 9 against the Houston Astros.

The Astros have gotten some more games to warm up their bats before Wednesday night’s rematch with Bauer but are coming off their first shutout in a little more than a month.

Bauer didn’t allow a hit for six innings and struck out a career-best 11 in his season debut but walked five and was pulled after 111 pitches. The Indians (39-44) would get within two outs of their first no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981 until Nick Hagadone gave up a solo homer to Jed Lowrie in a 5-1 victory.

Bauer (7-5, 3.88 ERA) enters this game following his first win in three starts, a 5-2 victory in Pittsburgh on Friday. He retired the first 10 batters and allowed two runs – on an Andrew McCutchen homer – in 6 1-3 innings before leaving due to a rain delay.

The right-hander had given up a combined 11 runs over 10 innings in back-to-back losses.

Bauer has totaled 12 scoreless innings and 20 strikeouts in his two starts against the Astros (49-37), but is 2-4 with a 6.34 ERA in 11 home starts since beating Houston on Aug. 24. He has given up a combined 13 runs in 6 2-3 innings in his last two starts at Progressive Field.

After seeing them in their third game this season, Bauer will get to face the Astros in their 87th. Houston was batting .284 – 40 points higher than its season mark – and had scored 51 runs over a nine-game stretch prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss.

The Astros registered six singles in their first shutout since May 31 after logging 16 hits – one shy of matching a season high – in Monday’s 9-4 victory. Jose Altuve ended his career-best 14-game hit streak by going 0 for 4.

"I thought we had good at-bats all night with nothing to show for it," manager A.J. Hinch said. "That’s the disappointing part."

Jason Kipnis snapped a 29-game home hit streak – the longest by an Indians player at Progressive – as Cleveland ended a three-game losing streak. The win was also just their seventh in the last 19 home contests.

"Everybody knows we’ve got to finish this (seven-game) homestand strong before going into the All-Star break," outfielder Michael Brantley said. "We’ve got to play good competitive baseball, error free and pitching well. We’ve got to continue to do that to be successful in (the AL Central)."

Dan Straily will try to send Cleveland to another loss in his second start for Houston. He gave up five runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 12-8 win in Boston on Friday, the same day he was called up from the minors.

Straily lost his only start against the Indians on Aug. 17, 2013, while with Oakland. Brantley, who went 3 for 4 with a solo homer Tuesday, has doubled in both of his at-bats against the right-hander.

The Astros are hoping to get Luis Valbuena and his team-leading 19 homers back from a sprained left toe that’s kept him out of the first two games against one of his former teams.