Bauer hits strikeout goal in Tribe rout
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 1592/3 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.
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 71/3 scoreless innings against Minnesota on Aug. 1.