Bauer struck out 10 over seven innings and the newly acquired relievers completed a three-hitter as the Cleveland Indians beat the Pirates 4-0 on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh was seeking its first 12-game winning streak since 1965 but only advanced one runner to third base. The Pirates had scored six or more runs in seven straight games before losing for the first time since July 10 against Washington.
“I challenged them, forced them to hit my stuff,” he said. “I wanted to see who was tougher.”
Bauer (9-6) allowed two hits and two walks in his ninth double-digit strikeout game this year.
Cimber, acquired from San Diego along with Hand on July 19, got the first two outs in the eighth. Hand retired the next four batters, striking out three, for his first save with Cleveland. He had 24 saves with the Padres.
“Those guys are taking my innings away from me, jerks,” Bauer said, chuckling. “They’re good, and that’s what we got them to do, you know? Come in and shut the game down.”
Edwin Encarnacion had a two-run single in the third off Jameson Taillon (7-8), and Yonder Alonso had a two-run homer in the eighth against Felipe Vazquez.
Jose Ramirez scored twice and stole two bases for the Indians, who lead the AL Central by eight games over Minnesota. Francisco Lindor went had two hits.
“Trevor Bauer was as good as advertised,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The spin pitches, sometimes they looked like a whiffle-ball coming in there, and he has enough run to the arm-side fastball at times that it keeps you honest.”
Pittsburgh, which outscored Cleveland 16-4 in winning the first two games of the series, was blanked for the ninth time. Jordy Mercer, Jacob Stallings and Adam Frazier had hits.
Pirates center fielder Starling Marte left in the first inning after being struck on the left hand by a Bauer pitch. Left fielder Corey Dickerson did not play because of a strained left hamstring that occurred Tuesday.
Marte’s career-high hitting streak remains intact at 17 games because he did not record an official at-bat or sacrifice fly before leaving. Initial medical tests revealed a bruise, but no fracture.
Marte has an NL-high 20 RBIs in July and is batting .292 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs on the season.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (right forearm strain) began performing gripping exercises Tuesday and did not experience any problems. The 25-year-old starter was placed on the disabled list on June 29.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) will pitch every other day during his rehab assignment with Double-A Akron. He allowed four runs in 1/3 of an inning in his first outing Tuesday.
Pirates RHP Nick Kingham (5-4, 4.11 ERA) takes on Mets LHP Steven Matz (4-8, 3.65 ERA) in the opener of a nine-game homestand Thursday at PNC Park.
Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco (12-5, 4.03 ERA) faces Tigers RHP Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.49 ERA) to begin a six-game trip Friday at Comerica Park.
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