DETROIT (AP) – Trevor Bauer gave Cleveland’s beleaguered bullpen a bit of a break.
Bauer struck out 10 in eight sparkling innings, and the Indians beat the Tigers 6-0 on Wednesday, avoiding a three-game sweep in Detroit. The scuffling Indians lead the AL Central despite a .500 record, and this easy win was certainly welcome for Cleveland after a pair of losses to the injury-plagued Tigers.
The Indians’ bullpen ERA is an unsightly 5.68, but only one reliever pitched Wednesday — Cody Allen in the ninth.
“We certainly needed that,” manager Terry Francona said. “We wanted to pitch Cody — because he hadn’t pitched in three days and we have the day off tomorrow — but we got to stay away from everybody else and let them take a deep breath.”
Bauer (3-3) retired his first 12 hitters, and Michael Brantley hit his sixth home run of the season. Ryan Carpenter (0-1) allowed five earned runs and seven hits in five innings for Detroit in his second big league start.
Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones left in the third inning with a left hip injury.
Bauer allowed four hits in a sharp, 108-pitch outing.
“The biggest problem is that you never know what he’s going to throw,” Detroit catcher Grayson Greiner said. “You get into a fastball count, and he throws you the sharp breaking ball, and when you are expecting the breaking ball, he goes with a high fastball.”
Carpenter, meanwhile, was in trouble from the start. With men on first and third and nobody out in the first, he threw wildly to first for an error on a comebacker by Jose Ramirez. A run came home on that play, and Francisco Lindor followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Indians added three runs in the fourth, all on two-out hits by their 7-8-9 batters. Erik Gonzalez — added to the lineup when Edwin Encarnacion was a late scratch — drove in a run with a single. Jason Kipnis followed with a double to make it 4-0, and he came home on a single by Roberto Perez.
Brantley hit a solo homer in the fifth.
Jones hurt himself while running out a grounder in the first inning. The team described his injury as a contusion.
“He jumped for the bag instead of running through it, and that’s a good way to blow out an ankle or a knee,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He went right up the tunnel to try to stretch it, and he wanted to stay in, but we could see he was dragging that leg.”
Bauer had at least two walks in each of his previous eight starts this year. He had none Wednesday.
“I have an inning usually during the game where I walk two or three guys, and it costs me, where I just lose command for whatever reason,” Bauer said. “I think that’s why I was able to get deep in the game is, I didn’t have that inning today.”
Detroit recalled Carpenter and RHP Artie Lewicki from Triple-A Toledo before the game. Lewicki pitched the final four innings without allowing a run.
Cleveland signed RHP Matt Belisle to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Columbus.
Indians: Encarnacion was out because of back spasms. Ramirez was the designated hitter instead, and Gonzalez took Ramirez’s spot at third.
Tigers: Detroit was without 1B Miguel Cabrera (right hamstring strain), 3B Jeimer Candelario (left wrist tendinitis) and OF Leonys Martin (left hamstring strain), all of whom are on the disabled list.
The Indians have Thursday off before starting a three-game series at Houston. Mike Clevinger (3-0) starts Friday night for Cleveland.
Detroit begins a four-game series Thursday night at Seattle. The Tigers send Matthew Boyd (2-3) to the mound against Marco Gonzales (3-3).
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