MIAMI (AP) — Because of the unusual way the game started, Carlos González figured the Cleveland Indians might need a lot of runs.
“I’ve never seen Trevor Bauer struggle before,” González said with a chuckle.
Bauer fell behind early, but González put the Indians ahead to stay with a tiebreaking three-run homer, only his second extra-base hit of the season, and they beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Tuesday night.
Bauer (4-1) overcame his slow start to pitch seven innings. He struck out 10 but allowed four runs and wasn’t happy afterward.
“I stink right now,” the right-hander said. “It has been really frustrating, but I’ll figure it out. I’ve got to be better.”
Bauer walked four and was annoyed he has allowed 23 bases on balls in 47 2/3 innings. But his ERA is 2.45, and he made his 60th consecutive start without allowing more than four runs.
Only Greg Maddux has had a longer such streak since 1970.
“Today he didn’t have his best stuff, but he’s a competitor,” González said. “Being able to help after a rough start was awesome.”
González’s homer off Sandy Alcantara (1-3) broke a 3-3 tie in the third. The three-time All-Star, who signed in mid-March and was called up from the minors on April 14, had been 2-for-14 with runners on base.
“This whole thing has been new for me — not having spring training,” González said. “It takes a little time. Right now I’m feeling a lot better.”
The Indians need him. They came into the game last in the AL in batting and slugging.
Carlos Santana hit his second homer in as many games and his third of the year for Cleveland, and also had an RBI single.
Former Marlin Brad Hand completed a five-hitter by pitching a perfect ninth for his ninth save in as many chances.
Curtis Granderson hit his fourth homer for the Marlins, who lost their fourth game in a row and have the worst record in the majors.
Alcantara allowed six runs, four earned, in 5 1/3 innings.
“I always see it as a lack of aggression — a lack of confidence in his fastball,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I feel you don’t see his best stuff as often as we could. When you have 97-98 in the tank, you’d like to see it more.”
Garrett Cooper came off the injured list to start for the Marlins at first base, but he left the game in the third inning after a 96-mph fastball from Bauer bruised his left knuckle. X-rays were negative.
Cooper has been the Marlins’ opening day right fielder the past two years, but because of injuries, he has played in just 18 games since the beginning of 2018.
“These last couple of years have taken a toll on me mentally, but I’m glad there’s nothing broken,” Cooper said. “Hopefully it will be a few days, and I’ll get back to swinging this weekend.”
Indians manager Terry Francona took the blame after his team allowed Alcantara to drop down an RBI sacrifice bunt with runners at first and third in the second inning.
“That’s my fault,” Francona said. “It’s good National League baseball. We’ll need to clean that up when we’re in National League cities.”
The Marlins’ Nick Anderson struck out both batters he faced in the sixth. He has 27 strikeouts and two walks this season while facing 51 batters.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (back) threw from 60 feet and said he felt great. The earliest he can come off the injured list is June 6.
Marlins: INF Neil Walker underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a mild bone bruise in his left knee. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the sixth.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (2-3, 5.88 ERA) will face the Marlins for the first time Wednesday.
Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (2-0, 2.17), who will start the series finale, has an NL-best batting average against of .167.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine