CLEVELAND -- If there was any question about how ready Trevor Bauer was to become a member of the Indians' starting rotation and not just a spot-start fill-in, Tuesday's performance likely provided the answer.
The Indians' highly touted right-hander outpitched Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to help guide the Indians to a 6-2 victory and second consecutive win over their division rivals at Progressive Field.
Called up from Triple-A Columbus to take the vacant spot of right-hander Danny Salazar, a matured Bauer shook off a 429-foot, first-inning homer by Torii Hunter that gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game.
Undaunted, Bauer went on to scatter seven hits in six-plus innings, limiting the Tigers to just one more run, another solo homer by catcher Alex Avila leading off the fifth inning.
Of course, it helped to have an early cushion with which to work, as the Indians battered Verlander for five runs in the first two innings, including a four-run second inning that featured three doubles.
Bauer, 23, also was the benefactor of solid defense (which is not a given by the club that leads the major leagues in errors) along with a little luck on a manager replay challenge that overturned a close play on the field and allowed him to get out of a sixth-inning jam.
With one out and two on after Bauer issued back-to-back walks in the sixth inning, Nick Castellanos hit into what was first ruled a fielder's choice. But Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the close call at first base after Bauer hustled over to cover the bag and dug out a low throw by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
After a delay of two minutes and 25 seconds, the call was overturned (giving Francona his fourth win in 10 challenges), leaving Bauer to pound his fist in his glove as he jogged of the mound.
Verlander gave up five runs on 11 hits and three walks and battled his command throughout the night before giving way to the Tigers bullpen.
In contrast, by the time Bauer exited the game after giving up a single to Avila to start the seventh, the 13,924 fans in attendance got to their feet and gave him a standing ovation as he left with a 5-2 lead.
David Murphy added a solo homer with one out in the bottom of the inning, Bryan Shaw added two hitless inning of relief and Cody Allen retired the Tigers in order in the ninth, including a strikeout of Victor Martinez.
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