KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Trevor Bauer was already in a foul mood when he learned he would start the Cleveland Indians’ first game of the AL Division Series on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox.
After giving up two runs and three hits in the sixth inning of the Indians’ 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, Bauer was told by manager Terry Francona in the dugout he would start the postseason opener.
“I told him why I was taking him out — because he was going to start Game 1,” Francona said. “But he was kind of in the middle of beating up the dugout. So much for that feel-good moment.”
Bauer threw 96 pitches, tuning up for the postseason by striking out nine over six innings of three-run ball.
“I have a lot of confidence in my teammates and hopefully they have confidence in me,” Bauer said. “It should be fun. Like I said before, they tell me when to pitch and I go out there and pitch. Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, or whatever, they’re all important.”
Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber will pitch Game 2 on Friday after throwing a bullpen session Sunday. Kluber has not pitched since leaving a start Monday with a quadriceps injury.
“He’ll throw an extended side on Tuesday, which will line him up for Friday,” Francona said. “Klub really wanted to pitch Thursday. We’ve been talking about it for three or four days, but I just kind of overruled him.
“In fact, I know it’s the right thing for everybody. I don’t think it’s fair for Kluber to have him sit for 10 days and have him pitch two games in four days (possibly in the postseason). He certainly wanted to. I kind of — again not just me — but talking to everybody — I just took it out of his hands. Now he can prepare for Game 2. He can do that without the anxiety and worry or rushing.”
Francisco Lindor hit a two-out two-run double during an eighth-inning rally, helping the Indians beat Kansas City.
All three Indians runs in the eighth were unearned after second baseman Whit Merrifield’s error on pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte’s grounder, which allowed Rajai Davis to score with one out.
Royals rookie left-hander Matt Strahm (2-2) issued Davis a leadoff walk and Davis stole second, his AL-leading 43rd steal.
“Walks killed us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Four runs scored off of walks. That got us a little bit.”
Kevin McCarthy replaced Strahm and walked the bases loaded before Lindor’s double over third base.
Mike Clevinger (3-3) won for the AL Central champs by retiring the only two batters he faced. Cody Allen worked the ninth for his 31st save in 34 opportunities.
Tyler Naquin singled home Coco Crisp in the second for the Indians’ first run. Lonnie Chisenhall tripled in the third and scored on Edinson Volquez’s wild pitch. Chisenhall’s sacrifice fly in the fifth scored Lindor, putting the Indians up 3-1.
Bauer yielded two runs in the sixth on successive doubles by Kendrys Morales and Paulo Orlando to lead off and Alcides Escobar’s RBI single. Merrifield’s two-out single in the third scored Drew Butera for the first run off Bauer.
Volquez finished the season winless in his final seven starts. He was charged with three runs, five hits, four walks and a hit batter over five innings. It could have been Volquez’s final Royals start as he is eligible for free agency after the season.
“I hope not,” Volquez said. “You have to wait until the World Series and see what happens.”
Carlos Santana doubled and tripled in back-to-back games. The last Indian to accomplish that was Ordell Hale on July 19 and 21, 1936. Santana has tripled in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 15-16, 2012 against Detroit.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar could throw a simulated game Monday. He has been idle since Sept. 9 with a forearm strain.
Royals: All-Star C Salvador Perez was not in the lineup for the third straight game because of a sore knee and hamstring strain. … RHP Dillon Gee, who was treated for two blood clots after pitching Sept. 25, tweeted, “Got the blood clot out of my vein. Another step done, on to the next one!!”
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin will start the season finale on six days of rest.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy has failed to complete six innings in four of his past seven starts.