MINNEAPOLIS — Trevor Bauer is his own toughest critic — even when victorious.
The Cleveland right-hander had some choice words to describe his performance Tuesday against Minnesota. Though Bauer struggled by his standards, he pitched deep enough to help the Indians beat the Twins by a 6-2 final.
“A frustrating outing personally, but things to build on,” Bauer said. “Obviously the team won, so that’s the ultimate goal every time I go out there and pitch.”
Cleveland extended its lead in the American League Central to nine games over the Twins, who traded second baseman Brian Dozier to the Dodgers on Tuesday in the latest move that signaled another lost season for Minnesota.
It was an uncharacteristic outing for Bauer, who walked more batters (4) than he struck out (3) for the first time all season. The three strikeouts matched a season low and snapped a streak of 12 straight outings with at least seven strikeouts.
Bauer managed to pitch into the seventh inning but eventually gave way to reliever Brad Hand after allowing two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“You look up in the fifth inning and he had one hit, but he had been out of the stretch every inning because he just wasn’t commanding,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “He fights and claws and doesn’t give in and got himself a win, and we got a win out of it.”
One day after hitting a pair of homers against the Twins, Ramirez’s bat stayed hot at Target Field. He drove in a run with a double in the third inning and added an RBI single in the fifth as part of a three-hit night.
Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson gave up three runs on five hits in six innings to earn his second loss in his last three starts.
“A couple of breaks here and there, a couple tough pitches that they put in play and put them in the right spots,” Gibson said. “Guys battled and hopefully we’ll come out and get the series tomorrow.”
Miguel Sano doubled in the second inning and eventually scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Jake Cave. The Twins didn’t get another hit until Logan Morrison’s solo homer off Bauer in the sixth cut Cleveland’s lead to 3-2.
Greg Allen had a three-hit game and scored three of Cleveland’s runs as the No. 9 hitter. It was Allen’s second game back since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
Encarnacion’s two-out bloop to right scored a pair in the seventh to give the Indians a 5-2 cushion. He added an RBI on a fielder’s choice in the ninth inning. Encarnacion now has 76 RBI on the year, two behind Ramirez for the team lead.
“Our offensive numbers this year are pretty ridiculous across the board,” Bauer said. “Especially Edwin. He loves hitting here.”
MAY RETURNS TO THE TWINS
Minnesota right-hander Trevor May is back in the major leagues for the first time since 2016. He missed all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and pitched for Triple-A Rochester this year before officially being recalled Tuesday by the Twins.
May was both a starter and a reliever for Minnesota in 2014 and 2015 but pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 2016. He made four starts and nine relief appearances this season for Rochester before getting recalled.
“I think we all know that I have that versatility, and we talk about that quite a bit,” May said Tuesday. “At the moment, I like just getting the ball and letting it rip. I think that I have the mentality to take the ball at the end of the game and close the door.”
May made his season debut in the ninth inning, allowing one run on two hits.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin (right hamstring) threw two 15-pitch innings in a simulated game Tuesday and will pitch Friday for Triple-A Columbus in a rehab start, manager Terry Francona said Tuesday. Tomlin will throw two innings in his rehab outing.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton, currently playing for Triple-A Rochester, reaggravated his injured wrist Monday and will be evaluated further. Twins manager Paul Molitor said it’s likely Buxton will land on the minor league disabled list.