ST. LOUIS- Edwin Encarnacion and Lonnie Chisenhall hit back-to-back homers, rookie Shane Bieber pitched six strong innings and the Cleveland Indians beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Bieber (3-0) struck out seven to become the seventh pitcher in baseball’s modern era to strike out six or more batters in each of his first four major league starts. Bieber has given up just two runs in his last three starts and lowered his ERA to 2.22.
The Indians avoided a series sweep and have won eight of 10. Cleveland starters improved to 17-2 with a 2.26 ERA across 26 starts in series finales, including wins in their last nine decisions.
Bieber ambushed a first-pitch fastball from Jack Flaherty in the fourth for a double, his first major league hit.
Jose Martinez snapped Bieber’s scoreless innings streak at 14 innings with a one-out RBI single in the third.
Encarnacion and Chisenhall gave the Indians a 2-0 lead in the second, marking Cleveland’s fifth back-to-back home runs this season.
Francisco Lindor walked and Michael Brantley doubled to spark a two-run third that extended the Indians’ lead to 4-0. Tyler Naquin doubled home another run in the sixth.
Flaherty (3-3) went four innings, his shortest outing this season as the Cardinals had their four-game winning streak snapped. It followed perhaps his most dominant start, in which he carried a no-hitter for 6 1/3 innings against Milwaukee on Friday.
Matt Carpenter walked, doubled and scored his sixth run in his last two games.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (right elbow contusion) threw a bullpen session and will throw about 65 pitches on a rehab assignment Saturday at Double-A Akron.
Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (left hand fracture) is scheduled to meet with doctors Thursday with the hopes of being cleared to head out for a rehab assignment.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.44 ERA) will kick off a three-game series against Oakland and RHP Paul Blackburn (1-2, 8.83 ERA) on Friday. Bauer is 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in five career starts against the A’s.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (8-2, 2.69 ERA) will get the start as St. Louis hosts Atlanta and RHP Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.52 ERA) in the first of a three-game set Friday. Mikolas threw 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings in his only career appearance against the Braves on Aug. 15, 2012.