CHICAGO -- Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer focused a lot of his work in-between outings against the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series on the location of his pitches.
But in a 3-2 loss to the Cubs in Game 5 at Wrigley Field Sunday night, Bauer contended that his struggles had less to do with the location of his pitches and everything to do with the fact that the Cubs’ hitters proved their toughness at the plate.
“I executed pitches,” Bauer said. “I’ve said it a million times. I executed a lot of pitches. You go back and watch the game film, and with the exception of the Zobrist hit, everything I threw, everything they hit was right where I wanted it. Two balls were way out of the zone.”
With his curveball proving to be the effective pitch that it was not in his Game 2 start, Bauer kept the hard-hitting Cubs at bay for the first three innings of Game 5.
After striking out the first two hitters and getting the third, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, to fly out to left field to end the first inning, he worked around a one-out single from shortstop Addison Russell by striking out outfielder Jason Heyward and second baseman Javier Baez to short-circuit a potential rally in the second.
“It was easier to grip,” Bauer said of his curveball. “The first game I pitched, it was a little tough to grip the ball because it was cold. I found the grip after the second inning, but I wasn’t in there much longer to throw any good ones. Yeah, it was better tonight.”
Bauer had another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third, but the Cubs finally got to him in the fourth.
After being stymied at the plate in their first three at-bats, the Cubs broke through with three straight hits and three runs against Bauer in the bottom of the fourth inning. With the three runs, the Cubs took a 3-1 lead over the Indians and never again surrendered the advantage.
Third baseman Kris Bryant got the rally going when smacked a line-drive home run over the wall in left-center field. Then, Rizzo and left fielder Ben Zobrist followed with a double and single, both to right field, which put runners on the corners with nobody out.
Down in the count, 1-2 after bunting a pitch foul, Russell reached on an infield single down the third-base line and drove in Rizzo for the go-ahead run.
Baez followed two batters later with a bunt single that loaded the bases, and catcher David Ross drove in the final run of the inning when he lifted a sacrifice fly to left field.
“They’ve done a good job all series and did another good job tonight,” Bauer said. “I gave up three runs. We had a chance to win the ball game a couple different times, and didn’t come through. I’ve got to do my best to get it done.
“I executed pitches, tried to stick to the game plan. They hit some pitches, and I got unlikely too. I had great command of all my pitches and I executed my pitches well.”