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MLB: Indians, Shane Bieber, looking for series win over Tigers

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The Cleveland Indians came up short in their bid to win a four-game series on Wednesday. They’ll get another shot Thursday afternoon.

Cleveland took the first two games in Detroit but dropped a 1-0 decision in the third game. They’ll have their ace on the mound in the series finale.

Shane Bieber (4-3, 3.32 ERA) hasn’t been his usual dominant self this month. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner has allowed three runs in three of his four May starts and hasn’t reached double-digit strikeouts in any of them. He had 11 or more strikeouts in five of his first six outings this season.

In his last start on Saturday, he had a no decision against Minnesota while giving up three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“Teams are kind of laying off the off-speed stuff down, which has been my strength the last two years,” Bieber said. “Right now, I think it’s a little bit more of a me thing.”

In seven career starts against Detroit, he’s 5-2 with a 2.42 ERA.

Cal Quantrill was the losing pitcher in relief on Wednesday but lasted three innings. That could be a precursor to Quantrill joining the rotation with Zach Plesac out indefinitely due to a thumb fracture.

“He’s never been a one-inning reliever this year up to this point,” manager Terry Francona said. “He even said, ‘Whether I start or relieve, being more stretched out is certainly going to happen because of where we are right now.'”

Detroit’s starter on Thursday, Matthew Boyd (2-5, 3.08 ERA), will be seeking his first victory since April 13. Boyd has surrendered nine runs in 11 combined innings over his past two starts. He gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings to Kansas City on Saturday.

“I could have been a little sharper,” Boyd said. “I had some chances to put guys away in two-strike counts and it didn’t happen.”

Boyd tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Indians in the season opener for one of his two victories this season. He’s 3-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 career outings against Cleveland.

Indians infielder Jose Ramirez has three career homers in 35 official at-bats against the left-hander.

The Tigers used some small ball to snap a four-game losing streak on Wednesday. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, Niko Goodrum led off with a double. Jake Rogers advanced Goodrum with a sacrifice bunt and Robbie Grossman knocked in Goodrum with a sacrifice fly.

“Everybody in the ballpark knows he’s bunting,” manager A.J. Hinch said of Rogers. “The first baseman is crashing in and he’s got a small margin for error. He’s got to bunt it to third. A huge play, obviously, and Robbie completed the ‘good story’ part of this play because you’re giving up an out to get him 90 feet closer.

“Robbie hits a sac fly in the middle of the diamond, which is textbook with a runner on third and the infield in. On a night where there wasn’t a lot of action, there wasn’t a lot to love offensively, it was a great job of execution.”

Cleveland leads the season series 6-3.

–Field Level Media

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