Cesar Hernandez’s two-run blast powers Cleveland Indians past Chicago Cubs

May 11, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) follows through on a swing for a single during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez each homered as the Cleveland Indians opened a two-game set against the visiting Chicago Cubs with a 3-2 win on Tuesday.

Shane Bieber (4-2) allowed two runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings while throwing 121 pitches, which is the highest in the majors this season.

The Cubs put two runners on with one out in the ninth against Emmanuel Clase, who induced a double-play grounder from Matt Duffy for his seventh save.

Adbert Alzolay (1-3) struck out six and gave up three runs over six frames for the Cubs, who have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak.

Cleveland made the most of its five hits and won for the 11th time in its last 14 games.

Eric Sogard gave Chicago a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth with his leadoff homer off Bieber, who extended his major league record to 20 straight games with at least eight strikeouts.

The Indians answered in the bottom half on Hernandez’s two-out, two-run blast to right field. Hernandez is 9-for-32 over his last eight games after batting .176 in his first 24 games.

Chicago star Kris Bryant delivered his major league-leading 14th double in the third inning, but left the game in the middle of the sixth inning due to illness.

Willson Contreras gave the Cubs an early lead in the second when his single to center scored Anthony Rizzo, who doubled to begin the inning.

The Indians pulled even in the fourth on a leadoff homer by Ramirez, who is batting .305 with six homers and 12 RBIs over his last 17 games.

Joc Pederson, Contreras and Duffy had two hits each for Chicago, which appeared primed for a big inning in the second. After Contreras’ run-scoring single, the Cubs had the bases loaded with one out before Bieber struck out Ildemaro Vargas and induced a double-play grounder from Sogard to end the inning.

Eight of the Cubs’ last nine games have been decided by one run.

–Field Level Media