Edwin Encarnacion started the month of May in style with his first multi-hit performance since April 22.
Unfortunately, baseball is not an individual game.
Despite going 2-for-4 with an RBI, Encarnacion‘s contributions were not enough to dispel an abysmal outing from Trevor Bauer as the Indians fell 7-1 to the Detroit Tigers on Monday evening at Comerica Park.
Bauer burned by extra-base hits
Three run-scoring hits between the first pair of frames put Bauer in a 5-0 rut within moments of the contest’s first pitch.
Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez slashed a pair of RBI doubles in the first before Tyler Collins launched a three-run homer to right-center field in the second.
“A lot of deep counts,” said manager Terry Francona to reporters. “After they’ve seen four, five (or) six pitches, you got to make almost a perfect pitch. Every once in a while he does, but when he doesn’t, they squared up a lot of balls.”
Bauer somewhat settled in for the next two innings, but Zach McAllister let both of his inherited runners to score in the fifth to charge the 26-year-old with seven runs and a final line of 4 IP, 7 H, 7 R/ER, 5 BB, 3 K (93 pitches, 50 strikes, 53.8%, four groundouts, two flyouts).
“We get him to work ahead a little bit more, his success would be a lot better,” Francona said. “Tonight was a tough night.”
The Tribe’s season-long struggles continued vs. southpaws as they batted .227 (5-for-22) with one run on five hits opposite Daniel Norris.
“Really good slider,” said Francona of Norris. “And he’s got plenty of velocity to go with it. He had some deep counts too because he scattered some balls, but really good stuff.”
Encarnacion accounted for the road nine’s only scoring when he ripped a single to left field to plate Francisco Lindor and cut the deficit to 5-1 in the third.
On the campaign, left-handed starters have allowed 15 earned runs in 68.1 innings for a 1.98 ERA when facing Cleveland in 2017.
Bullpen sustains brilliance
McAllister and Dan Otero each tossed two shutout innings to extend the bullpen’s scoreless (no earned runs) streak to 28.1 innings dating back to April 18 when Otero surrendered one earned run in the seventh inning to the Twins.
“Fortunately, [Bauer] stayed out there long enough where we didn’t go through our whole bullpen,” Francona said. “Because that was a concern early.”
Facing a five-run margin in the early stages of the ballgame, Bauer was able to team with the relief unit and lessen the workload for other hurlers on roster moving forward in the series.
Jackson exits due to injury
Austin Jackson legged out an infield single on a groundball just past the shortstop in the ninth inning. Coming off a medial meniscus tear in his left knee, Jackson landed awkwardly on the bag and walked gingerly back to the dugout in favor of pinch-runner Abraham Almonte.
The veteran outfielder reportedly jammed his toe as a full evaluation of the injury will be announced on Tuesday.
Central Division update
Kansas City (8-16) tallied six unanswered runs to roll past the White Sox (13-11) at Kauffman Stadium.
The four-game series continues on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. from Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich.
RHP Corey Kluber (3-1, 4.19) has thrown two consecutive quality starts since allowing six earned runs in 6.1 innings of work on April 15 against the Tigers.
RHP Justin Verlander (1-2, 4.60) will look to pitch much better than his April 15 start at Progressive Field, an outing in which he allowed a career-high nine runs in an unexpected slugfest.