Cleveland Indians

Trevor Bauer continues dominance with near no-hitter

Trevor Bauer’s unique style continues to pay off as the Cleveland Indians RHP threw seven hitless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer was less-than-perfect on Thursday night. But he was also something he’s been for a while now: unhittable.

Bauer pitched seven hitless innings in Cleveland’s 4-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field, lowering his ERA this season to 0.64 in two starts. Bauer, though, walked six and hit a batter, throwing 117 pitches in his seven innings before being pulled from the game. The no-hitter was broken up by a Freddy Galvis single off closer Brad Hand to lead off the ninth.

In his first start of the season, against Minnesota on Saturday, Bauer allowed just one hit in seven innings. He’s the first pitcher in history to pitch seven innings or more in back-to-back starts to begin the season and allow just one total hit. His domination of the Blue Jays was also his 55th straight start allowing no more than four earned runs, the second-longest streak since 1900 (Greg Maddux had 106 straight from 1991-94).

The 28-year-old Bauer is baseball’s unorthodox man. He’s become known almost as much for his unique training regimen and fondness for drones as he is for his performances on the mound. For the past two seasons, though, those performances have been spectacular. Last season, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA, second in the American League, and finished sixth in AL Cy Young balloting. That level of mastery has continued right into this season.

On Thursday against the Blue Jays, Bauer, braving short sleeves despite the frigid temperature in Cleveland, managed to escape an early jam. He loaded the bases in the third inning with two walks and a hit batter but recovered to strike out Socrates Brito and Randal Grichuk before getting Rowdy Tellez to fly out to center field after a seven-pitch at-bat. He struck out eight Blue Jays hitters and believes he still had the stuff to remain in the game to finish off the no-hitter.

“I knew it was probably time to come out. That being said, I think my [velocity] was higher in the last inning probably than in all innings,” he said after the game. “Definitely didn’t drop off at all. My stuff was sharp.”

“Had I gone back out I think I would have gotten it too. But, you know, it’s a long season.”

The Indians haven’t had a no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game, also against the Blue Jays, in 1981.

For the Blue Jays, Bauer’s near-miss on Thursday continues an alarming trend so far this season. Toronto has now been held hitless through the first five innings in four of their eight games. They wasted another solid outing from their starting pitcher, as Aaron Sanchez held Cleveland to two earned runs over six innings. Blue Jays starters lead the league this year in team ERA, but they rank 25th in batting average. Cleveland is last in that category, but on Thursday at least they could get a hit off the opposing starter.

The Indians (3-3) and Blue Jays (3-5) play the second game of their three-game series on Friday at 7:10 EST.

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