Bauer zeroed in as Indians blank Astros

Bauer zeroed in as Indians blank Astros

HOUSTON -- Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer continued his mastery of the Astros by throwing seven scoreless innings Tuesday night to outduel rookie right-hander Chris Devenski in a 4-0 win at Minute Maid Park.

Bauer, who improved to 4-0 with a 0.67 ERA in four career starts against the Astros, scattered three hits and and struck out seven while allowing just one runner to reach third base.

"I was able to make some pitches in situations and get out of some stuff," Bauer said of a pinpoint changeup and cutter. "The last two outings, my changeup has been really big. It's something that I had been working on and trying to incorporate more."

Devenski allowed two runs and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings.

"He's obviously been tough on us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Bauer. "We haven't done much in my time here against him. I guess it's not that difficult to figure out. He's got good stuff, and he is all over the place, either by design or just by sort of controlled wildness. We never had anything going against him to put a ton of pressure on him. He's got all the pitches, he's got a lot of body movement, he's an uncomfortable at-bat, even though he's in the strike zone."

Chisenhall's RBI double

The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the second when Mike Napoli led off with a single and scored on a Juan Uribe fielder's choice, and Carlos Santana walked and scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall double. Jason Kipnis tripled and scored as part of a two-run eighth.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Power of Bauer: Bauer definitely seems to enjoy his time in Houston. He's now pitched 13 shutout innings in Minute Maid Park, following up his six innings of no-hit ball last April with another commanding performance. He's now got career-best marks in ERA, hits allowed, WHIP and strikeouts against the Astros (minimum 12 innings) in four career outings. The righty struggled a bit working his way back into the rotation after starting 2016 in the 'pen. But he was electric and saved a fatigued Cleveland relief staff after Corey Kluber's brief outing on Monday. More >

"He opened up the plate by pitching in, and then he got into the middle of the game and really got into a rhythm and really did a good job," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He didn't make any [mistakes], and I think after seven he was about wiped out. I was going down to shake his hand and he was kind of coming towards me."

Bauer strikes out Altuve

No satisfaction for Devo: Devenski reached a career high in innings in his third Major League start, two of which have been quality, but will it be enough to stay in the rotation? With Lance McCullers Jr. nearing a return, perhaps as early as this weekend, and the veterans in the rotation pitching well, Devenski could be the odd man out despite his success and lack of run support (three runs in 17 2/3 innings as a starter).

"He's made pitch after pitch after pitch," Hinch said. "He's usually had one inning in there where he wobbles just a touch. He had a fatigue at the end of the outing tonight, but he leaves it all out on the field. I really appreciate the way he goes about it." More >

Hinch on 4-0 loss to Indians

Double up the lead: Cleveland made sure Bauer's terrific outing wouldn't go to waste. The Indians waited out Devenski and did some damage against the bullpen in the eighth. Francisco Lindor beat a drawn-in infield for an RBI single off Josh Fields, and Napoli followed by booming a double off the top of the high left-field wall, providing the weary bullpen with some much desired cushion. Napoli finished the game 2-for-4 and scored a run.

"I'd prefer we be up by six runs," Francona quipped. "But of course, the add-on runs are huge. You just want to stay away from a [situation] of somebody making a mistake and having it cost you a game."

Napoli's RBI double

QUOTABLE
"He ended up lining into an out and it looked like it had a chance to go into the corner and maybe be a double and score a run. I love when our guys have at-bats like that; it can't do anything but help." -- Francona, on Lindor's 15-pitch at-bat in the first inning

"I really like the way our team has responded in the last seven-to-nine games. We have a chance to win a series tomorrow against a really good team with some power pitching and ending a really good homestand." -- Hinch

Altuve's fantastic leaping throw

RAMIREZ TO BE EVALUATED
Indians left fielder Jose Ramirez didn't exit the game after being hit by a pitch on his right wrist during the seventh inning but will get a precautionary X-ray.

"He got whacked pretty good," Francona said. "He's already kind of moving it, and I think he's OK, but we'll get him X-rayed just to make sure."

Ramirez is plunked by a pitch

WHAT'S NEXT
Indians: Danny Salazar will start the matinee rubber match on Wednesday (2:10 p.m. ET). He has been Cleveland's most consistent starter this season, as he's allowed two runs or fewer in five of his six outings. Salazar has allowed just two runs in 13 1/3 innings in two career starts against the Astros.

Astros: The Astros close out a 10-game homestand by sending right-hander Doug Fister (3-3, 4.54 ERA) to the mound at 1:10 p.m. CT Wednesday. He has four consecutive quality starts under his belt, going 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA in that span.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Indians on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.