CLEVELAND -- In a game that featured five lead changes -- four over the final five innings -- the Indians rallied last. And for that, first-place Cleveland got a victory Monday night at Progressive Field.
Trailing by a run in the eighth, the Indians scored four times to finally put away Texas 7-5 for just their third win in the last seven games.
Jose Ramirez put Cleveland in front by a run with a two-out double off the wall in right field and pinch hitter Yonder Alonso delivered a two-run single.
“You know what was kind of nice? Every time they scored, we did,” manager Terry Francona said. “That says something. We bounced right back. That was a hard game to win, but we came back every time they scored. That’s a good quality.”
The cushion was enough for the Indians’ beleaguered bullpen, which allowed the Rangers to score twice in the top of the eighth to take their first lead of the game off left-hander Tyler Olson.
The Rangers threatened again in the ninth, scoring once off Cody Allen and putting two on with two outs for dangerous power hitter Joey Gallo, but left-hander Jeff Beliveau rode to the rescue.
Beliveau fell behind in the count 3-0 before getting Gallo looking at a 3-2 pitch for the final out.
“Hats off to him, that’s tough,” Allen said of Beliveau. “You’re talking about a guy that doesn’t even really have to barrel one up to get it out of here and they got a lead. I left a pretty good mess for him and he came in and did an outstanding job.”
Since Andrew Miller landed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Cleveland’s relievers have struggled to hold things together, allowing 16 runs over 14 2/3 innings.
“We have some guys pitching maybe in situations they haven’t pitched in before,” Francona said. “It’ll end up being good for us. These guys are getting some experience that will help.
“We may have to win a few games like this. Sometimes that’s the way it is, but I still think we’re going to be OK. I think we have guys that can do it. Olson got some pitches up tonight that really hurt, but I still think we’re going to be OK.”
Right-hander Trevor Bauer didn’t get the win, but he did continue his strong start to the season, allowing two runs on four hits over 6 2/3 innings and recording his first double-digit strikeout game -- 10th of his career.
Of Bauer’s six starts this year, five of them have been quality outings.
“He might say at times he hasn’t had his best stuff,” Francona said. “I think he holds his stuff really well. For a guy that isn’t the biggest, I think he holds his stuff through a game really well. I’ve always thought that.
“I think he’s come a long way and I think he’s still coming, which is exciting.”
Bauer (2-2, 2.45 ERA) allowed a double to the first batter of the game, Delino DeShields, then didn’t surrender another hit until consecutive singles from former Indians player Shin-Soo Choo and Jurickson Profar to start the fourth inning that led to the Rangers’ first run.
Despite his pitch count rising to 111 through six innings, Bauer was sent back out for the seventh. It wound up being the wrong decision.
Bauer retired the first two batters of the inning before Robinson Chirinos hit his sixth homer, clearing the wall in right field to tie the game at 2.
“It was a high number (pitch count), but he was throwing the ball really well,” Francona said. “What happened, I didn’t want to happen. That’s kind of stating the obvious, but without Andrew out there and the way (Bauer’s) throwing the ball, I thought that was OK. It didn’t work.”
Bauer was grateful for the nod of confidence from his manager.
“I really appreciated that,” he said. “It’s a tough decision on his part, because I threw so many pitches early. I was kind of fighting an uphill battle to try to get through seven. Something that’s important to me is being able to make it through seven this year. So I really appreciated him sending me out.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t reward the decision, but I felt like I had good stuff and was competitive with everything in the seventh.”
Though they had done little in support of Bauer for much of the game, Cleveland’s offense struck right back in the bottom of the inning.
Francisco Lindor led off with his second base hit of the game and moved to third on a Jason Kipnis single before coming home with the go-ahead run on a base hit through the hole between short and third from Ramirez.