Twins blanked in series opener against Indians
CLEVELAND — Trevor Bauer reached a milestone Monday night.
Cleveland’s right-hander struck out 11 in six innings — giving him 206 for the season — and the Indians routed the Minnesota Twins 10-0.
Bauer (11-6) is one strikeout behind Boston’s Chris Sale for the AL lead. After striking out 196 last season — then a career high — reaching the 200-mark was a goal going into 2018.
“That’s something I wanted to accomplish,” he said. “Next up is 300. Maybe not this year, but hopefully next year.”
Bauer, who held Minnesota to three hits, was given a standing ovation when he recorded he reached the 200-mark against Bobby Wilson in the third. He has 10 double-figure strikeout games, tying him with Sale for the league lead.
The Indians hit four home runs, led by Edwin Encarnacion, who had four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the seventh. Yonder Alonso, Brandon Guyer and Jason Kipnis also homered for Cleveland, which leads Minnesota by 10 games in the AL Central.
Bauer struck out every batter in the starting lineup and ended his night with a flourish in the sixth. Jorge Polanco doubled with one out and was at third when Miguel Sano drew a two-out walk but Bauer struck out Max Kepler on his 112th pitch.
“That’s probably my last hitter, given that I had ran my pitch count up,” Bauer said. “I definitely wanted to finish my own inning. If I can’t finish the game I like to finish my inning. I threw a good pitch. I was excited about both of those things.”
Manager Terry Francona knew Bauer, who leads the AL with 159 2/3 innings pitched, had a lot left but went to the bullpen. Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez and Dan Otero each pitched an inning to close Cleveland’s AL-leading 12th shutout.
“He could have kept pitching and he wanted to,” Francona said. “That’s enough. On a night like tonight that was plenty.”
Bauer hasn’t lost since June 29 and is 4-0 in his last seven starts.
Alonso’s home run started Cleveland’s four-run fourth while Guyer added a two-run shot, both coming off Kyle Gibson (5-9). Matt Belisle gave up Kipnis’ leadoff homer in the sixth and Encarnacion’s blast.
Gibson allowed six runs — four earned — in five innings. Belisle gave up four runs in two innings. Catcher Mitch Garver worked the eighth, allowing only Francisco Lindor’s one-out single.
The Indians scored two unearned runs in the first because Polanco didn’t catch a pickoff throw for an error. Jose Ramirez’s sacrifice fly that was caught in foul territory by second baseman Logan Forsythe to put Cleveland ahead.
“We’ve had a lot of better days,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It was not pleasant to endure that beatdown. That first inning was disastrous.”
Garver’s first appearance on the mound in a major league game provided some levity for the Twins. He retired Guyer and Erik Gonzalez on groundouts and Rajai Davis on a fly ball to deep center.
“I wanted to strike out Lindor, so I turned the gas up,” Garver said, laughing. “He lined one right back at me and I had to get out of the way pretty fast.”
Kipnis took a hit away from Joe Mauer to begin the game. Kipnis went several steps to his left, dove on the outfield grass and made the throw to first. Mauer came into the game batting .302 (13 for 43) against Bauer, but was hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats.
Minnesota placed outfielder Robbie Grossman (strained right hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Johnny Field from Triple-A Rochester. Grossman was injured running out a double Sunday. The Twins claimed Field last week after he was designated for assignment by the Indians.
OF Melky Cabrera, who is 3 for 31 lifetime against Gibson, wasn’t in the lineup. Cabrera had a big day in the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, making two diving catches and crashing into the wall to grab Shohei Ohtani’s drive.
Cabrera’s day off gave Guyer a rare start against a right-hander and he responded with a home run off Gibson.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda pitched two scoreless innings in his first outing for the Gulf Coast Twins on Monday. He had Tommy John surgery in July of last year.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (right hamstring tendinitis) might return Tuesday. He’s missed the last four games.
Twins LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 2.60 ERA) takes on Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.66 ERA) in the second game of the series. Carrasco is 5-0 with a 1.99 ERA over his last six outings, pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Minnesota on Aug. 1.