Indians hit 4 HRs, bullpen hangs on for 8-6 win vs. Astros
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians' beleaguered bullpen suffered another jolt when Andrew Miller went on the disabled list Saturday.
A few hours later. the relievers played a major role in an 8-6 win over the Houston Astros.
Zach McAllister, Tyler Olson, Dan Otero and Cody Allen combined to allow one run over the final 3 1/3 innings to make four homers hold up.
"That's a big pick-me-up right there," said Allen, who pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save. "That was a game we really needed."
Miller is out with inflammation in his right knee. Even though the left-hander has struggled, his absence leaves a major hole in the AL's worst bullpen.
"This season has not been easy by any means," Allen said. "This is a hard game. This is a humbling game, unforgiving. We know we can do it, but it's trying to show up every single day and build on what we did the previous day."
Added manager Terry Francona: "I was happy for those guys. They've had a tough stretch. Some good things happened."
Carlos Carrasco (6-3) allowed five runs and struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings.
Yonder Alonso, Jason Kipnis and Edwin Encarnacion each hit two-run homers. Michael Brantley added a solo homer and the Indians needed every bit of the power display to end Houston's five-game winning streak.
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 and extending his hitting streak to 15 games.
Encarnacion led off the second with a double. Following a wild pitch and a walk, first baseman Yuli Gurriel couldn't glove Melky 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.
"I deserved it," McCullers said. "I'm an emotional guy, and Altuve let me know that I need to channel my emotions for the right reason on the field. I was real immature and let my emotions get away from me. I'm not 21 anymore. I apologized to everyone."
McCullers had a simple explanation for the difference between his two outings against the Indians.
"I got my butt beat," he said. "I made bad pitches and they hit them. Nothing more really to say about it. As a pitcher, you have to wear the bad ones like this."
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.