Trevor Bauer followed the lead of teammate Zach McAllister and gave the Indians a strong start on the mound Tuesday, striking out a major league career-high eight batters over six innings.
Unlike McAllister, the young right-hander didn’t pick up the win, as the Indians followed up their 2-0 victory over the San Diego Padres in the first game Wednesday with a 2-1 loss in the second in a doubleheader split at Progressive Field.
Bauer, called up from Triple-A Columbus to make the spot start, gave up two runs (one earned) in his best start as an Indian. He worked fast, attacked hitters and showed improved maturity by working his way out of a bases-loaded jam with limited damage.
Bauer’s outing was a strong enough performance to earn a win on a typical day. But the Indians offense proved stingy throughout the day Wednesday, combining for three runs on 11 hits over 18 innings. The Tribe’s two runs in the first game came via a two-run home run by Jason Kipnis.
The Padres first run in the second day came amid controversy. The first batter of the game, Everth Cabrera, reached on a two-base error by Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Chris Denorfia followed with a shot to the outfield that Indians right fielder Elliot Johnson appeared to make an impressive catch at the wall, but then dropped during the transfer.
Tribe manager Terry Francona challenged the call, but the review upheld the original call despite video board and television replays of the controversial play appearing to indicate otherwise. Then all it took was a ground out by the next batter, Seth Smith, to score their first run and take an early lead.
The Indians tied the game with a run in the third inning when Yan Gomes led off with a single, Cabrera followed with one of his own and Mike Aviles’s sacrifice fly scored Gomes.
But the Padres got to Bauer again in the sixth inning, loading the bases with one out and taking a one-run lead on a base-hit flare to shallow left center by Chase Headley. Instead of going to the bullpen early, Indians manager Terry Francona left Bauer in to see how the kid would handle the pressure.
In veteran-like manner, Bauer extracted the Indians from further damage by getting Yonder Alonso to pop up foul behind the plate and pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal to strike out on a 96-mph fastball. As he walked of the mound, a fired-up Bauer pumped his fist and pounded his glove with his bare hand.
With a final chance to record a comeback, the Indians didn’t go easily in the ninth against Padres closer Houston Street. With one out, Ryan Raburn singled off the glove of the shortstop. Nyjer Morgan came on to pinch run for Raburn and promptly stole second. The next batter, Michael Brantley, worked a walk as Street struggled to locate. But Street got Yan Gomes and Cabrera to fly out to halt any thoughts of a come-from-behind win.