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Shane Bieber strikes out 11 as Cleveland Indians sweep Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-0

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — When it comes to offense, the catching position for the Indians has been a wasteland in this coronavirus-shortened season.

The Indians’ three catchers through the first 24 games of the season were hitting a combined .081 (6-for-74) with one homer and one RBI.

Beau Taylor changed all those negative vibes Thursday night as the Indians beat the Pirates, 2-0, to complete a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

The Indians have won six straight — all of them coming on this trip through Detroit and Pittsburgh — and 11 of their last 14 games.

Shane Bieber (5-0, 1.11) pitched six scoreless innings, striking out 11, for the win. In his only other start against the Pirates, Bieber allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings on July 24, 2018. Quite a different pitcher was on display Thursday night as he recorded his fourth game with 10 or more strikeouts and ran his MLB-leading strikeout total to 65 in his first six starts of the season.

All those strikeouts wouldn’t have meant much without Taylor. Making his first start since Aug. 8, Taylor ended an 0-for-16 start to the season with an RBI single in the second inning. Taylor delivered the second run in the eighth when he sent a weak grounder to Josh Bell at first base with the bases loaded. Franmil Reyes would have been out by 15 feet, but Bell made a bad throw to catcher Jacob Stallings as Reyes slid home for a 2-0 lead.

“I said gosh-dang it seems like it has been a year (since I had a hit),” said Taylor. “It felt good. The big thing was the RBI. I told (Mike) Freeman when I got to the dugout, ‘Dude, I just had so much weight come off my shoulders right now.‘ Then the shutout. . .thank you.”

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Bieber’s record on the road improved to 20-5, but the Pirates made him work, especially in the sixth.

Kevin Newman opened with an infield hit to third base. Bell sent Newman to third with a run-and-hit single in the sixth to put runners on the corners with no outs.

Bieber pitched out of the jam as he struck out Adam Frazier and Jose Osuna and retired J.T. Riddle on a fly ball to right. But that was the end of the night for Bieber, who threw 99 pitches, 66 (67%) for strikes and didn’t walk a batter. Bieber has walked just six batters in 40 2/3 innings.

“He wanted to go back out there (for the seventh inning),” said Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar. “But he had to work very hard in the sixth inning. We felt like that was enough. He was at 99 pitches and we felt we had enough in the pen to cover that bridge. The guys did a good job.”

Taylor gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the second with his first hit of the season. He singled to right with two out off Trevor Williams (1-4, 3.70). Reyes and Tyler Naquin started the rally with one-out singles. Reyes sent a slow roller down the third baseline that hit the bag instead of going foul. Naquin singled to left to move him to second.

Domingo Santana lined out to right, but Taylor put the Indians in front with his single to right. Williams ended the inning by getting Bradley Zimmer on a grounder to first.

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“Beau came up huge for us at the plate and behind the dish as well,” said Bieber. “We were sitting and watching the game on Wednesday. He was taking notes as we were talking over the lineup. I can’t say enough about him and the preparation that goes into it. It’s a difficult to not play for a week-plus and then get in there and play as well as he did.”

It was another solid performance by the Indians’ bullpen. Oliver Perez, Nick Wittgren, James Karinchak and Brad Hand completed the seven-hit shutout with three scoreless innings. Hand retired the Pirates in order in the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances. The Pirates have lost four straight and 14 of their last 16 games.

The Indians have posted five shutouts this season.

The night was a study in frustration for the offense. They left the bases loaded twice, stranded 12 runners and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The Indians missed a chance to stretch the lead in the fourth. Naquin singled and Domingo Santana walked to start the inning. Taylor advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt and Zimmer walked to load the bases.

Williams came back to strike out Cesar Hernandez with a pitch that was below the strike zone. Then he retired Jose Ramirez on a weak fly ball to left on a high fastball. Hernandez struck out twice with the bases loaded.

The Indians missed another chance in the sixth when Domingo Santana and Taylor walked with one out. Lefty Brandon Waddell retired Zimmer on a grounder to second and Hernandez on a bouncer in front of the plate.

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The Indians open a three-game series against the Tigers on Friday night at Progressive Field. RHP Adam Plutko (1-1, 3.95) will face Detroit RHP Michael Fulmer (0-0, 7.56) at 7:05 p.m. The game will be carried by SportsTime Ohio, Channel 3 and WTAM/1100.

Plutko and Fulmer faced each other Sunday at Comerica Park. They each registered a no decision, failing to get through three innings in an 8-5 win by the Indians.

A variety of Cleveland Indians face masks available online today. (Fanatics.com)

New Indians face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Indians-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All MLB proceeds donated to charity.

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Is MLB’s replay system fair or foul? What changes would you make? (podcast)

Cleveland Indians’ bullpen hits all the right notes in extra-winning win over Pirates

Roberto Perez provides immediate impact on defense in return to Cleveland Indians lineup against Pittsburgh

Shining a light into the darkness and two other things about the Cleveland Indians

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BALL – “This is an important victory, and we are in the fight” (Boavista)

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BALL - "This is an important victory, and we are in the fight" (Boavista)

Petit analyzed Boavista’s 1-0 victory over Vilafrancense, looking to advance to the second round of Group F of the League Cup. In total, chess players have up to two triumphs in the same number of games in the competition.

“It was an honest victory for what we did. We could have scored more goals, it was a good game. We added to the match in the 30th minute. In the second half we were much better, this is completely our advantage. We could have scored one more goal. This is an important victory, and we are fighting, ”he began by saying that in flash interview.

Panthera won, but did not get rid of the panic towards the end of the match, when Nene from Vilafrancense appeared in the penalty area and almost hit his head: “We know Nene well, he is a free kick player. We have some defensive gaps, but we’ve been working on it. He won the ball, sometimes we can’t win all the balls. But the important thing is that we won another competition, and that inspires us.”

The coach spoke about the losses that he has in the team: “The absence of some is an opportunity for others. We have young and young players who have worked with us and already know what we want from the game.”

Boavista will take the field again on December 12, in the third round of the competition, against Vitoria de Guimarães: “There are fifteen days left until the next game. It’s a very big break, but it’s good for the players that there’s competition like this.”

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BALL – Draw in the big show between Spain and Germany (World Cup 2022)

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BALL - Draw in the big show between Spain and Germany (World Cup 2022)

Spain and Germany presented perhaps the best game in this World Cup. The Spaniards came into play with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica in the first game of the tournament, while the Germans had to call on their admitted composure to overcome the pressure created by Japan’s surprise defeat in the first game. Just a new defeat greatly upset the Germans.

What is certain is that the ball began to roll, and it soon became clear that both teams must win. A lot of dedication, a lot of struggle, a lot of respect, and the result was a great football game, in which, however, goals were only scored in the second half. However, they could well come in the first half. For Spain, Dani Olmo came close to scoring (7′), but Neuer saved the shot and the ball went to the crossbar, and then Jordi Alba (22′) shot close to the post. The same goal was scored by Germany, through Rüdiger (40′), but the move was annulled, the German defender was out of the game.

The second half was still very contentious and in Morata’s case it would have been a new man who would have made the nets shake: in the 62nd minute Olmo crossed Jordi Alba from the left, he crossed close to the field and the striker signed a great right hand foot.

When losing, Germany never lost organization and eventually reached a draw, rightly so, in a move in which the one who also shone was the man who started on the bench, in the case of Fullkrug, in a move that started in Musial, under cooperation of Sane and the supply of striker Werder Bremen. Previously, by the 74th minute, Musiala and Fullkrag missed good opportunities.

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The game continued very interesting until the very end, but the result did not change. There were two great teams on the field.

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BALL – “I respect all the players in Portugal, but I prefer those in Uruguay” (Portugal)

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BALL - "I respect all the players in Portugal, but I prefer those in Uruguay" (Portugal)

Diego Alonso, coach of Uruguay, analyzed Monday’s match against Portugal with the second round of World Cup Group H in mind. A meeting of heightened importance for the South Americans, who drew with South Korea in the first game.

“We have already seen the balance that exists in this World Cup and what has happened with Argentina and Germany. [n.d.r. perderam com Arábia Saudita e Japão, respetivamente] and how difficult it was for Portugal to beat Ghana. We don’t underestimate the opposition or the result we showed against South Korea, but we are here to win games and keep the dream going,” he began with a warning before praising the Quinas teams:

“They have a very good team, with very good personalities, and an experienced coach who knew how to lead a team to titles. They have been playing together for a long time and that makes Portugal a dangerous team. But we also have our own arguments, which also make us a dangerous adversary.”

“Portugal have several options: they can play counterattack because they have speed or they can dominate because they have inside play. It’s a whole team,” he added.

When asked which element of the Portuguese team he would choose to play in “his” Uruguay, Diego Alonso answered bluntly: “With all due respect to the players from Portugal, I prefer everyone I have in Uruguay.”

The coach ruled out any advantage for Uruguay, Portugal’s “executioner” at the 2018 World Cup, stressing that “all games have a different story.”

On Uruguayans with Portuguese football experience – Darwin (ex-Benfica, starting XI against South Korea), Coates and Ugarta (athletes, unused substitutes): “They may have a deeper knowledge, but I don’t think that’s an advantage. We , of course, talked to them about any doubts, because we all help, but whoever is in the best conditions and in the best football moment will play.”

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