Indians hit 4 HRs, bullpen hangs on for 8-6 win vs. Astros
CLEVELAND — Yonder Alonso, Jason Kipnis and Edwin Encarnacion each hit two-run homers, and Cleveland’s beleaguered bullpen hung on as the Indians defeated the Houston Astros 8-6 on Saturday night.
Michael Brantley added a solo homer and the Indians needed every bit of the power display to end Houston’s five-game winning streak.
Andrew Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his right knee before the game, leaving a major hole in the AL’s worst bullpen.
Carlos Carrasco (6-3) allowed five runs and struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings, turning the game over. Zach McAllister, Tyler Olson and Dan Otero combined to record seven outs, and Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
Lance McCullers Jr. (6-3) gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings after holding the Indians to one hit in seven scoreless innings last Sunday.
Jose Altuve, who had four hits, and Tony Kemp hit two-run homers off Carrasco. Altuve’s third-inning homer gave Houston a 2-1 lead, but Cleveland scored four times in the fourth — including homers by Alonso and Kipnis.
Carlos Correa had an RBI single in the fifth, but Encarnacion, who had three hits, ended McCullers’ night in the bottom of the inning with a homer to center.
The game started an hour late because of rain.
Altuve tripled to center off McAllister with one out in the seventh and scored on Correa’s groundout to cut Houston’s deficit to one run at 7-6. But Brantley homered in the bottom of the inning to make it a two-run game again.
Encarnacion led off the second with a double. Following a wild pitch and a walk, first baseman Yuli Gurriel couldn’t glove Cabrera’s ground ball and Encarnacion scored on the error.
McCullers let out a yell as he ran toward first during the play and was confronted by Altuve as the Astros returned to the dugout following the inning. Altuve homered moments later in the third.
Trevor Bauer will pitch against Houston on Sunday for the first time since questioning on Twitter how Astros pitchers have been able to improve the movement on their pitches. Bauer later told reporters that he never accused them of cheating.
Several Houston players criticized Bauer on their Twitter accounts, including McCullers and Collin McHugh.
Gerrit Cole, a teammate of Bauer’s at UCLA, will start for Houston. The two reportedly had a strained relationship in college, adding more intrigue to the game. Cole was the first pick in the 2011 draft by Pittsburgh while Bauer was taken third by Arizona.
The Indians wore patches on their uniforms to honor Tito Francona, father of manager Terry Francona. Tito Francona passed away at the age of 84 in February. The name “Tito” was on the uniforms and painted in the dirt behind home plate. Tito Francona played for the Indians from 1959-64.
Astros: OF Derek Fisher (gastrointestinal discomfort) has been on the DL since May 19 and it’s unclear when he’ll return.
Indians: Miller was out from April 26-May 11 with a strained left hamstring. He was on the DL twice last season with patella tendinitis in his right knee.
Astros: Cole (5-1, 1.86 ERA) leads the AL with 101 strikeouts and has held opponents to a .169 batting average. Bauer (4-3, 2.35 ERA) has won all seven career starts against Houston.