CHICAGO – Trevor Bauer took another step toward rejoining the Indians in the postseason and Carlos Carrasco almost vultured another win from his teammate. That’s almost because the White Sox rallied to beat the Indians in the ninth inning on a two-run single by Daniel Palka.
The single gave Chicago a 5-4 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was the 12th time the Indians have been beaten in walk-off fashion this season.
Carrasco entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead, but he walked Yoan Moncada to start the inning and gave up a single to Adam Engle. Yolmer Sanchez singled home Moncada to make it 4-3. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, Palka delivered the tying and winning runs with a single to center.
Bauer allowed two runs in four innings. It was Bauer’s second start since coming off the disabled list after suffering a stress fracture of his right fibula on the same mound he pitched from Tuesday night.
On Friday, Bauer went 1 2/3 innings against Boston. He threw just 50 percent of his 34 pitches for strikes. He was much sharper Monday, throwing 72 percent of his 60 pitches for strikes. He struck out four, didn’t walk a batter and left with a 4-2 lead.
“I thought [he was] pretty good,” said Francona. “He left a couple breaking balls up a little bit. But, I thought he looked more like himself, which is a really good thing. He went and pitched his four and then he went out in the bullpen and got to about 75 or 80. So, it was another really good step.”
When Bauer pitches, drama is never far away. Sanchez opened the first for the White Sox with a bunt single to third. Sanchez ended up at third on throwing errors by Josh Donaldson from third and second baseman Jose Ramirez.
Yet that wasn’t the real drama unless the White Sox gave a foreshadowing of how teams may attack Bauer in the postseason to test his right leg. No, the drama came when Avisail Garcia, with two out, hit a two-run homer on Bauer’s 2-2 pitch.
Last year Bauer and Garcia yelled at each other during a game – Garcia at the plate, Bauer on the mound. Garcia wanted him to throw a fastball. But Bauer didn’t and struck him out. Then he waved him back to the dugout.
Tuesday night Garcia took forever to get around the bases for his 19th homer. In the third, Bauer fielded Garcia’s tapper up the first baseline. Instead of throwing to first, he stopped along the line and tagged Garcia out. Just another footnote in the Bauer story.
“I was really encouraged with today again,” said Bauer. “Commanded the ball pretty darn well. That was one of the points of emphasis, was see how many 0-2, 1-2 counts I could get myself into. Get ahead.
“I threw all my pitches for strikes. All where I wanted to, with the exception of I missed a couple in the zone. Like the slider that Avi (Garcia) hit out. But, overall, I was super encouraged by it.”
The Indians rallied quickly against James Shields to take a 3-2 lead in the third. Jose Ramirez drove in one run and Yonder Alonso drove in the other two. Ramirez’s single gave him 104 RBI for the season and was one of the best swings he’s taken in weeks.
Yan Gomes made it 4-2 with a leadoff homer in the fourth. It was his 16th homer of the season and five this month.
Carrasco (16-9, 3.42) started the fifth in relief of Bauer and was brilliant until the ninth. He struck out eight, the most by an Indians reliever since Kaz Tadano struck out nine against the Rockies on June 26, 2004.
On July 15 against the Yankees, the last game before the All-Star break, Bauer pitched seven innings and left with the score tied, 3-3. Carrasco pitched a scoreless eighth inning and was credited with the win when the Indians scored three runs in the eighth.
“I thought Carlos was terrific up until the end,” said Francona. “And then he walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning. But, I thought he was very good except for that.”
What it means
The Indians’ date with Houston in the ALDS is almost set. The Astros reduced their magic number over Oakland to clinch the AL West to 1 with a 4-1 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night.
Game 1 of the ALDS is scheduled for Oct. 5. The Astros will have home-field advantage.
Bauer threw 60 pitches, 43 (72 percent) for strikes. Shields threw 112 pitches, 58 (52 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and White Sox drew 17,040 fans to Guarantee Rate Field. First pitch was at 9:01 p.m. with a temperature of 67 degrees. The start of the game was delayed by rain for 51 minutes.
Indians rookie right-hander Shane Bieber (10-5, 4.80) will face the White Sox on Wednesday. The White Sox have not announced a starter for the 8:10 p.m. game. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.
This will be Bieber’s second start against the White Sox. He threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings against them on Aug. 10 in a no-decision.I thought he was terrific up until the end. And then he walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning and we almost get a pickoff play. But, I thought he was very good except for that.