CLEVELAND -- The rookie continues to impress.
Oscar Mercado came to the plate in the 10th inning with the game on the line and with two strikes came through, sending the Indians home as winners in a 2-1 victory in 10 innings over the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Facing Reds reliever Raises Iglesias, the Indians set the table for Mercado for the 10th. With one out, Mike Freeman walked and Leonys Martin singled to center field to put runners on the corners. The Reds then opted to intentionally walk Francisco Lindor to get to Oscar Mercado with the bases loaded.
Mercado made them pay for it. With two strikes, he lined a single to left field to mark his first career walk-off hit.
The Indians improved to 34-32 this season with the win. Brad Hand (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings and struck out four to get the win.
Trevor Bauer had been searching for a start like this for roughly six weeks. He struggled a bit with his command and had to dance out of some trouble but for the most part, he finally found it, as he dueled Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo for much of the night.
Bauer pitched into the eighth inning, finishing with one earned run on six hits and five walks to go with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
Bauer's biggest pitch of the night came in the top of the seventh inning with the Indians and Reds tied 1-1. A double by Yasiel Puig and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with one out for Nick Senzel, who in the fifth inning crushed an RBI double off the wall to tie it at 1.
Sponsored Video Stories
Bauer induced a grounder right back to him. He quickly tossed it to catcher Roberto Perez, who stepped on the plate and fired to first base for an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Bauer and first baseman Carlos Santana both fist-pumped as they ran off the field with the game still tied.
The Indians' offense struggled to handle Castillo during this stellar year in which he entered Tuesday night sporting a 2.26 ERA. Francisco Lindor led off the first inning with a double off the wall in center field, seemingly a positive indicator of what was to come; that wasn't the case. Castillo settled down to allow just one run in six innings.
He paid for only one mistake on Tuesday night. That was a changeup to Santana in the fourth inning. Castillo left it over the heart of the plate -- a rare mistake -- and Santana belted it to right-center field for a solo home run, his team-leading 13th of the season, to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Tied at 1 in the sixth, the Indians had a golden opportunity to take the lead, as another double by Lindor and two walks loaded the bases with one out for Jose Ramirez. Though, his disastrous season continued with another strikeout, and Jake Bauers was struck out as well to end the inning.
(c)2019 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.