Winning its fourth straight game to complete the two-game interleague sweep, Cleveland blanked former Indians pitcher Cliff Lee and the Phillies 6-0 at Progressive Field to pull within a game of .500.
The Indians have faced five Cy Young award winners this season — Toronto’s R.A. Dickey, Tampa Bay’s David Price, Chicago’s Jake Peavy and Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay and Lee — beating four of them, with only Peavy earning a 3-2 win.
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Cleveland laid waste to the Phillies’ pair of Cy Young winners, combining to score 20 runs off them, while limiting Philadelphia’s offense to just two runs.
“I don’t think what hardware they have in the past really goes into our approach,” manager Terry Francona said. “We respect who we’re facing, but we’re trying to be better than them. There’s certain pitchers where you know if they make a mistake, you better hit it.”
Cleveland has done plenty of hitting as of late. After producing inconsistent results for much of the season, the Indians’ offense has caught fire, scoring 39 runs on 59 hits over the past four games.
“They pretty much pounded us both games, no way around it,” said Lee, who allowed five runs on nine hits over six innings. “They crushed us both games.”
No one has been hotter for the Indians than utility man turned Triple-Crown contender Ryan Raburn, who has more than taken advantage of his playing time thanks to an injury to center fielder Michael Bourn. He has 12 hits in his last 14 at-bats — with four home runs and nine RBIs over the span.
Raburn, who also made a nifty catch at the wall in right field on a Ryan Howard drive in the fourth inning, went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. That gives him three straight games with at least three hits and two RBIs — just the fifth time a Cleveland player has done that since 1930, and the first time since David Justice in 1997.
“When you plug a guy in and he gets that hot, that’s such an added bonus,” Francona said. “He’s been so hot we’ve been able to hit him all over the order. He’s been huge for us. He has taken this opportunity and made the most of it.”
Despite more control problems, right-hander Trevor Bauer made the most of his second start for Cleveland.
Bauer, who walked the first four batters he faced in his season debut on April 6 at Tampa Bay, issued six free passes this time around, but was still able to notch his first victory of the year.
With runners all over the bases for the majority of the night, Bauer allowed just a hit and struck out five over five innings.
“When he got into some traffic out there, he made some unbelievable pitches,” Francona said. “He attacked hitters when he had to, with really good stuff.”
Probably Bauer’s best work of the night came in his final inning. After walking the first two hitters, he retired Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young and Chase Utley in succession to preserve the shutout.
“For whatever reason, I lock in when I have runners on base,” Bauer said. “I’m a competitive guy and don’t like giving up runs. I have to do a better job of keeping them off base, though.”
The past (Lee) was outpitched by the future (Bauer).
“Bauer was pretty erratic, but somehow he found a way to get it done,” said Lee, who allowed a two-run double to his former teammate Asdrubal Cabrera in a decisive three-run third inning. “It was their night. Give them credit.”
Bauer wasn’t puffing his chest after his outing, but he did feel as though he did his job.
“Ultimately, the goal is to help the team win and I thought I did that,” he said. “It is what it is. I walked six people. I look at it as a learning experience.”
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Minnesota
- WHEN: Friday, 7:05 p.m.
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: Masterson (4-2, 3.12 ERA) vs. Hernandez (1-0, 2.35)
- TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM