CLEVELAND — Trevor Bauer needs to pitch well for Cleveland’s injury-depleted rotation as the Indians close in on the AL Central title.
Bauer had a rough afternoon in Sunday’s 9-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers. The right-hander hit three batters and allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Carlos Carrasco, the Indians’ No. 2 starter, broke his right hand after being hit by Ian Kinsler’s line drive Saturday. Danny Salazar is unlikely to pitch again because of a strained right forearm, meaning the Indians need someone to line up behind staff ace Corey Kluber.
Although Bauer struggled against Detroit — a loss that reduced Cleveland’s lead over the Tigers to seven games — he’s not feeling any extra responsibility.
“I never feel pressure,” he said. “My process is the same every time I pitch.”
Bauer (11-8) will likely have three more starts in the regular season.
“I try to go out there and execute pitches at a high level,” he said. “Some days I’m better at that than others. It’s the same process, the same mindset, and it’s not for a lack of effort.”
Kinsler got his helmet knocked off by a pitch from Bauer in the third inning. The right-hander also hit Miguel Cabrera on the left hand in the first and Victor Martinez on the right knee later in the third.
Kinsler grabbed the side of his head, was examined and went to first. Bauer tossed his glove to the ground and crouched behind the mound. Kinsler was being tested for a concussion after the game.
Bauer apologized following the game, the Indians’ second loss in 15 games to the Tigers. Detroit is one game behind Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot.
“Regardless of game situation, I would never intentionally throw at someone’s head,” Bauer said. “That has no place in the game. I know saying sorry for it doesn’t really change that it happened.”
Indians manager Terry Francona admitted Bauer’s command was an issue.
“That’s probably the understatement,” he said. “There were balls down, in, up, out. You never want to see somebody get hit in the head. You could tell there was no intent, but I understand why guys were getting aggravated. Guys were getting drilled pretty good. I get it.”
A day earlier, Kinsler hit a line drive that broke injured Carrasco, leaving a major hole in Cleveland’s rotation. Right-handers Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger have been moved from the bullpen and will start this week.
Detroit starter Daniel Norris (3-2) threw the first pitch of the bottom of the third behind Rajai Davis, which led to both sides being warned by home plate umpire Jordan Baker.
Carlos Santana homered in the Cleveland sixth.
Tigers: 3B Nick Castellanos (broken right hand) will face pitchers the next two days in Lakeland, Florida. He could return during the final two weeks.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (strained abdominal muscle), who has been out of the starting lineup since Thursday, pinch hit in the ninth.
Tigers: LHP Matt Boyd is scheduled to pitch the opener of a three-game series in Minnesota on Tuesday.
Indians: Tomlin will start Tuesday against Kansas City, the opener of a three-game series.