Trevor Bauer wasn’t perfect for the Indians against the Blue Jays on Thursday night. Far from it: He walked six and hit a batter. But he was good enough to not allow a hit, and through seven innings the meager, very cold crowd of 10,375 at Progressive Field had visions of Cleveland’s first no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981.
But Bauer wouldn’t be the one to finish it. After 117 pitches, Indians Manager Terry Francona knew he had had enough and called for Jon Edwards to start the eighth inning. Edwards promptly followed the same loopy path set by Bauer, going strikeout-walk-hit batter-strikeout-walk. So he gave way to Brad Hand, who got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to pop out to second, ending the inning with the no-hitter still intact.
Alas, the 13th combined no-hitter in MLB history was not to be: Freddy Galvis started the ninth with a single off Hand, and that was that. Cleveland won, 4-1.
Afterward, Bauer said he understood Francona’s decision to pull him with his no-hitter still going.
“I figured.  pitches is a lot for any time of the year, obviously,” he said, per MLB.com. “I just got myself in trouble, a lot of deep counts, a lot of free passes. But yeah, it was the right decision.”
Said Francona: “I didn’t want to take him out. . . . I told him I hate it. He goes, ‘I hate it too, but I know it’s the right thing.’ I care too much about him and this organization to hurt somebody. I would have loved to have seen it because I don’t doubt that he would have kept pitching and probably not given up a hit the way he was throwing. I just have an obligation to do the right thing even when it’s not the funnest thing to do.”
Bauer’s overall start to the season probably softened the blow. Per MLB.com, Thursday’s outing combined with his seven-inning, one-hit debut on Saturday make him the first pitcher in MLB history to go five-plus innings in back-to-back starts to begin a season and give up only one total hit.
And if he hadn’t had so much trouble with his control, particularly in a 31-pitch third inning in which the Blue Jays loaded the bases with no hits on a walk, hit batter and another walk, Bauer’s feat might have been even more noteworthy.
“[I] was just really frustrated with myself,” Bauer said. “And then just basically went to my best weapon, my curveball, and was able to get out of it, thankfully. That’s a situation that changes the game one way or another. I was happy to be able to get out of that and kick in the competitiveness a little bit and take it to the next notch.”
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