CLEVELAND -- If there ever was a bend-but-don't-break outing from a Cleveland Indians starting pitcher, it was the gutsy and much-needed performance Trevor Bauer gave the Indians on Monday night at Progressive Field.
Bauer became the first Tribe pitcher in the last nine games to pitch into the sixth inning, a much-needed start that saved a worn out and over worked bullpen saddled with the task of eating up all the additional innings over the past week and a half.
Bauer also became the first Tribe starter to toss a 119 pitches in a game this season, which also marked a career high for the young right-hander.
Over 6 2/3 innings, Bauer scattered eight hits, limiting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to three runs while he struck out six and left to a standing ovation with a one-run lead that the Tribe managed to ride for a 4-3 victory.
With Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving watching from a fourth-floor suite after taking batting practice with the team, the Indians took an early lead via an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run home run that survived an umpire crew chief review.
But Angels catcher Chris Iannetta tied the game in the second inning on a shot to center field that rolled to the wall as Iannetta pulled up at second base with a two-run double.
The Indians offense quickly rallied to give Bauer another lead with which to work after he held the Angels pat in the third. Michael Brantley's RBI single handed the Tribe a 3-2 advantage before Jason Kipnis hit into an inning-ending double play.
The play was costly in more ways than one however. Brantley injured himself on the slide into second base trying to break up the double play. A little later, the Indians official word was that reigning American League Player of the Week was removed from the game and replaced by Mike Aviles in the field to start the fifth "for precautionary reasons after taking a blow to the head/neck area."
Meanwhile, the Angels pulled even again in the top of the fourth on former Indian John McDonald's sacrifice fly. But Bauer escaped yet another jam by stranding the bases loaded by getting veteran slugger Albert Pujos to ground out to end the inning.
The resilient Indians went on to get the run back in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Santana led off the fourth with a home run to right field. Then rode the advantage to victory as former starter Carlos Carrasco pitched the final 2 1/3 innings in scoreless fashion to earn his first career save.
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