Bauer, 3 Indians relievers lose no-hit bid in 9th vs Astros
HOUSTON (AP) Even if four Cleveland Indians pitchers had combined on a no-hitter, manager Terry Francona wasn't certain it would've been cause for celebration.
Jed Lowrie broke up the bid by homering with one out in the ninth inning for Houston's only hit Thursday in a 5-1 win for the Indians.
Before that homer, Trevor Bauer and the Indians' bullpen had walked seven batters.
"I asked Millsy (bench coach Brad Mills) in the ninth: 'If we get through this with a no-hitter are we supposed to be excited?' I wasn't really sure," Francona said.
"There's a lot of baserunners. So that was probably the least of our thoughts. We were just trying to set up our staff and win a game and do what we think is right."
Bauer was pulled after throwing 111 pitches through six innings. He struck out a career-high 11 and walked five.
He was slightly more excited about the prospect of taking part in a no-no.
"Anytime you have a no-hitter going, it's fun and there's a special air in the building," Bauer said. "Obviously it's unfortunate to see the home run, but the team won and at the end of the day that's what matters."
Relievers Kyle Crockett and Scott Atchison each pitched a scoreless inning before Nick Hagadone took over.
Hagadone struck out Chris Carter to begin the ninth. Lowrie then sent a 94 mph fastball far over the left-center field wall for Houston's only hit.
"Lowrie swung and missed on a fastball and I tried to throw another one and he didn't swing and miss," Hagadone said.
Lowrie and the Astros were relieved to escape with a hit.
"It's a weight lifted off the whole dugout, the whole team," Lowrie said. "Hopefully it was good for morale."
The Indians have not pitched a no-hitter since Len Baker threw a perfect game in 1981 against Toronto.
Bauer and the Cleveland relievers teamed to strike out 16.
Corey Kluber opened the Indians' season Monday night by holding Houston hitless until Jose Altuve's two-out single in the sixth.
There were five no-hitters in the majors last year, capped by Washington's Jordan Zimmermann throwing a gem on the final day of the regular season.
Lowrie's shot came 50 years to the day after a well-known home run in Houston history. The old Astrodome opened on this date in 1965 with an exhibition game, and Mickey Mantle hit the first home run inside the building.
The Astros struck out a total of 36 times in losing two of three to Cleveland. The Houston lineup features several players who either hit it far or don't hit it at all.
Roberto Perez and Jose Ramirez homered for Cleveland.
Astros starter Asher Wojciechowski (0-1) gave up four runs and eight hits in four-plus innings of his major league debut.
Bauer was born California, but makes his offseason home in the suburb of Spring, Texas, about 30 minutes from Minute Maid Park. The 24-year-old righty began last season in Triple-A and went 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts for Cleveland.
Francona tapped Crockett for the seventh with Bauer already well over 100 pitches. He kept the free-swinging Astros off-balance with a fastball between 92-94 mph and offspeed pitches that dipped into the mid-to-low 80s.
Bauer worked around four walks in the first two innings.
Michael Bourn hit a leadoff double, Ramirez singled and Jason Kipnis made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Yan Gomes doubled to start the second and scored on a two-out single by Perez to make it 2-0.
Perez homered in the fourth and Ramirez connected in the fifth.
Indians: LF Michael Brantley was out of the lineup for a second straight day because of lower-back stiffness. He was removed from the lineup about 80 minutes before Wednesday night's game. Brantley missed time in spring training with a similar problem. Francona doesn't think the problem is serious but says Brantley will be examined by doctors in Cleveland on Friday morning. Brantley was an All-Star for the first time last season.
Astros: Pitcher Brad Peacock (hip surgery) is scheduled to make his first rehabilitation start for Triple-A Fresno on Thursday night. Manager A.J. Hinch said Peacock will likely need several outings with the Grizzlies to build up innings before returning to Houston.
The Colt .45s beat the New York Yankees 2-1 in that first game in the Astrodome on April 9, 1965, in front of more than 47,000 fans. As the world's first domed stadium it was dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World" when it opened. President Lyndon B. Johnson attended the game as did Texas governor John Connally, who threw out the first pitch.
Indians: The Indians get to check out the renovations made to Progressive Field in the offseason when Zach McAllister opposes Detroit's Alfredo Simon in their home opener.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh looks to stretch his career-long winning streak to eight games when he opposes Derek Holland and the Texas Rangers on Friday. McHugh hasn't lost since July 27 of last season and an eight-game winning streak would be the longest by and Astro since Roy Oswalt won nine straight from Aug. 23, 2006-April 17, 2007.