Indians' Bauer looks to continue resurgence against Tigers

The Detroit Tigers are having enough trouble generating runs. The last thing they need is to face Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer when he's rounding into form.

But that is the predicament confronting the Tigers heading into their weekend series finale against the visiting Indians on Sunday. Cleveland has won the first two games of the series.

The Indians' 4-2 win on Saturday was aided by Leonys Martin's steal of home, the first straight steal of home by an Indians player since Grady Sizemore did it in 2005.

Bauer had an 0-5 record and 5.52 ERA during a seven-start stretch prior to his last outing on Tuesday, in which he held Cincinnati to one run in 7 2/3 innings.

Bauer (4-6, 3.71 ERA), who is still looking for his first victory since April 30, wound up with a no-decision. The main blemish in the game was five walks.

"I mean, the results are good, obviously," Bauer told MLB.com afterward. "I don't think I was nearly as sharp (Tuesday) as I was my last outing. But I've been pitching well in my last four -- got like a 3.1 (ERA) over my last four starts."

Bauer has faced the Tigers 17 times, including 16 starts. He's 8-6 with a 5.67 ERA in those outings.

However, he won all four of his starts last season against them while posting a 1.23 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Detroit got a measure of revenge against Bauer on April 10 this season, however, handing him a loss while collecting four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Manager Terry Francona feels that Bauer showed better concentration and trust in his pitches during his start against the Reds.

"I thought he competed like crazy," Francona said. "Thought he shook (catcher Roberto Perez) off less than he has in the past, which I think is a good thing. ... He followed the glove a lot better than he has."

Right-hander Spencer Turnbull (3-5, 2.78) will oppose Bauer. Turnbull is also coming off a strong performance, as he held Kansas City scoreless over six innings on Tuesday. The Tigers wound up losing 3-2, though he did not receive a decision.

Turnbull made an in-game adjustment to keep the Royals off the scoreboard, using his curveball with greater frequency.

"It was the best my curveball has been in a while, for sure," Turnbull told the Detroit News. "I had been off with it a little bit, but I found it (Tuesday) and it's a good thing I did. The slider was not good early on. I found it later and threw some pretty good ones, but for the first four innings, I didn't feel like I threw a good one."

The Tigers are playing it cautious with the rookie, who has been a pleasant surprise in an otherwise drab season.

"You can see when a pitcher is laboring a little and starting to force pitches," manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters. "But we were thinking, 'Let's let him go and let's see what happens.' But when you talk about it, you don't want to see the kid get hurt or overextended. We're trying to do the right thing by this kid. We really like him."

Turnbull started once against the Indians this season and took the loss while allowing three runs on eight hits in four innings at home back on April 11.

--Field Level Media

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