CLEVELAND — Shane Bieber gave the bullpen another day off and the Indians' new-look lineup continued to roll.

On Sunday, that deeper lineup delivered three home runs to support a complete game by Bieber in a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field.

It was Bieber's third complete game of the year and second in his past three starts as he continues to emerge as one of the game's best starting pitchers. In those three outings, he's allowed 15 hits, four earned runs, two walks and struck out 26.

On Sunday he became the first Indians pitcher 24 years or younger to throw at least three complete games in the same season since Charlie Nagy did so in 1991.

"It’s nice, coming from last year where I generally had some struggles going 3-4 times through an order," Bieber said. "It’s nice to be able to make an adjustment and see some different results this year.

"Don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, obviously a lot of work to be done. Fortunately, I’ve just strung a couple of good innings together and, like I said, they were swinging early and I had a relatively low pitch count all game."

The Indians have now scored at least six runs in three consecutive games. And, on Sunday, it started quickly.

Oscar Mercado, batting second, took a low slider from Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria and drove it over the center-field wall to put the Indians ahead 1-0 in the first inning. It was Mercado's ninth home run of the season.

Two innings later, Francisco Lindor was offered almost the same pitch and in the same spot, and he matched Mercado by blasting a solo homer to center field, giving him 20 homers this season.

Jason Kipnis, now hitting seventh with Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes inserted into the middle of the lineup, had a hand in the rest of the production. He first belted a low change-up in the fourth inning for his 11th home run of the season to put the Indians on top 3-1.

An inning later, Kipnis stepped to the plate with two runners on base after Jose Ramirez's ground-rule double and scored them both with a single to right field that gave the Indians (66-45) a 5-1 advantage.

Kipnis walked and scored an insurance run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Lindor.

"There's just a good energy going in our dugout right now," Kipnis said. "I think guys are excited with how we're playing right now and the kind of roster we're putting forward, so I think guys are coming and playing and we're in one of those grooves where we're expecting to win every day."

 

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.