Bieber pitches Indians to road win over Cardinals
Tribe rookie stays undefeated with win over Cards
After a rough debut, Cleveland Indians rookie Shane Bieber has found his routine.
Edwin Encarnacion and Lonnie Chisenhall hit back-to-back homers in the second, Bieber pitched six strong innings and the Indians beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Bieber (3-0) struck out seven to become the seventh pitcher in baseball’s modern era to strike out six or more batters in each of his first four major league starts. After giving up four runs in 52/3 innings in his first outing, Bieber has given up just two runs in his last three starts and lowered his ERA to 2.22.
“It’s just being able to fall into a routine and just get a little more comfortable within that routine and within the clubhouse here and with the guys and all that,” Bieber said. “That goes a long way to being able to establish what you want to do.”
The Indians avoided a series sweep and have won eight of 10. Cleveland starters improved to 17-2 with a 2.26 ERA across 26 starts in series finales, including wins in their last nine decisions.
“For a young kid when runners are on and things start to happen, he seems to pitch more maturely than his age would indicate,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He starts throwing his breaking ball, gets some chase, doesn’t panic, game doesn’t speed up. That’s a real nice trait for anybody, let alone a kid that’s got four major league starts.”
Bieber jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Jack Flaherty in the fourth for a double, his first major league hit.
Jose Martinez snapped Bieber’s scoreless innings streak at 14 innings with a one-out RBI single in the third.
“I thought he had a good breaking ball,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Bieber. “It must have been a little different from than what guys have seen lately, you could tell some of the swings even in counts where they might have been looking for it might have been off a bit.”
Francisco Lindor walked and Michael Brantley doubled to spark a two-run third that extended the Indians’ lead to 4-0. Tyler Naquin doubled home another run in the sixth.
Flaherty (3-3) went four innings, his shortest outing this season as the Cardinals had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Matt Carpenter walked, doubled and scored a night after scoring five runs and getting five hits.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (right elbow contusion) threw a bullpen session and will throw about 65 pitches on a rehab assignment Saturday at Double-A Akron.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.44 ERA) will kick off a three-game series against Oakland and RHP Paul Blackburn (1-2, 8.83 ERA) on Friday. Bauer is 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in five career starts against the A’s.