While Brantley seemed to steal the show with a 3-4, 3-RBI performance, including a home run to give the Tribe an insurance run in the seventh, the story of the night was really Trevor Bauer, who completed seven innings of work for the first time in his career.
Bauer retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, and the one man to reach base did so thanks to an ugly error at first base by Nick Swisher.
The final few innings of this game was the first time all season that Bauer has looked dominant for an extended period of time. He’s allowed at least three runs in each of his last seven starts, including tonight, so he hasn’t really been a guy the Tribe can rely on. But if he’s able to mix in stretches of pure dominance as he showed tonight, he could be a key piece of the puzzle to a strong second half for the Indians pitching staff.
Other notes and thoughts on the game…
- The bullpen has now thrown nine scoreless innings in the last two games. If the ‘pen can keep this up in the second half, the Indians will at least hang around the race until September.
- Santana looked absolutely helpless against Tanaka tonight, which comes as no surprise. Entering tonight, he was a career .071 hitter against the splitter- one of Tanaka’s go-to pitches.
- Despite all the focus on Chisenhall, Brantley is now batting .328 and legitimately in the batting title hunt. And since Chisenhall is batting under .200 over the past month, Brantley’s probably the guy who could actually make it happen.
- Bauer becomes the first Indians rookie starter to beat the Yankees since Josh Tomlin in 2010. Others to accomplish the feat in recent years: Jeremy Sowers in 2006, Billy Traber in 2003 (the one-hitter), CC Sabathia in 2001 and Paul Rigdon in 2000.