Trevor Bauer had hoped to pitch a bloody good game. Instead, he had trouble finding the plate and his pitch count rose rapidly.
Nine days after he walked off the mound with his stitched-up right pinkie dripping blood as if in some horror flick, Bauer failed to finish the fourth inning and left the Cleveland Indians with a two-run deficit. The Chicago Cubs went on to a 5-1 victory Wednesday night behind Jake Arrieta, tying the World Series at one game apiece as it heads to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945.
His postseason interrupted by a sliced finger, the result of tinkering with one of the drones he enjoys flying as a hobby, Bauer never got into a flow against the Cubs. He started six of his first nine batters with balls while scattering pitches high, low and wide. Anthony Rizzo's RBI double in the first and Kyle Schwarber's run-scoring single in the third — his first hit on a 3-0 pitch — built Chicago's 2-0 lead.
Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game he intended to use only three starting pitchers in the Series, bringing Game 1 winner Corey Kluber, Bauer and Game 3 starter Josh Tomlin back to face the Cubs on three days' rest. Bauer needed 87 pitches to get 11 outs, an outing that might cause Francona to rethink his plan.
A 25-year-old right-hander selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks from UCLA with the third overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft, Bauer is somewhat of an eccentric. He prepares for starts by making long tosses of about 300 feet between the foul poles. In an era when his colleagues are trying to refine and master two or three pitches, he throws a four-seam fastball, sinker, curveball, cutter, slider and changeup.
He won a career-best 12 games this year, but his notoriety increased exponentially after he got hurt Oct. 14 when his finger was cut by his toy's propeller, a mishap that delayed his AL Championship Series outing against Toronto. Bauer had the drone at his news conference before his Game 3 start, saying "I brought my friend to answer any questions about what happened that I can't answer."
Bauer lasted just two outs against the Blue Jays because the 10 stitches he received didn't hold and he began bleeding on the mound. Cleveland's bullpen strung together 25 outs for the victory.
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The odd accident turned Francona into a comedian, too. He said Monday he reserved the right to alter the team's Series roster "if we have another drone incident or anything with model airplanes or anything."
Before taking the mound, Bauer tweeted a photo of a small drone and a gift card that read "Go Cubs Go!"
"I see the @Cubs fans love me!" Bauer wrote. "How nice of them to send me a gift!"
His offerings to Chicago were generous. Bauer threw 53 of 87 pitches for strikes, allowing two runs and six hits in a 90-minute outing that, well, droned on and on as baseball officials fretted over whether rain would arrive before the final out.
Sprinkles started in the eighth, but the game went on without interruption.