Kluber brilliant again; pitches Tribe to a 4-1 win over K.C.
Santana, Gomes go yard, as Kluber goes 8 1/3 dominant innings
CLEVELAND—Look up the word consistency in a dictionary, and Corey Kluber’s face should be there.
Backed by another brilliant start from the Indians ace, the Tribe took the rubber match over Kansas City Sunday, 4-1 to win the three-game weekend series.
“It’s sure nice to write his name in there,” manager Terry Francona said. “He has weapons and he has poise and he competes. He was really good.”
Kluber (8-6, 2.86 ERA) went 8 1/3 dominant innings allowing just one run on four hits, walking just one and striking out 10. He left to a standing ovation in the ninth, but not before his manager heard boos from the fans in attendance.
“I don’t blame them,” Francona said. ‘If I was managing with my heart, I would’ve left him in there too. If they want our guy to stay in and it’s the ninth, something good is happening.”
It marked the third time this season Kluber recorded at least 10 strikeouts, while allowing one or fewer walks, becoming just the eighth Tribe starter since 1914 to accomplish the feat.
“I wanted him to stay out there,” closer Cody Allen said. “He was pitching phenomenal. Anytime a guy has a chance to throw a complete game, you want him to do it.”
It was Allen that relieved Kluber in the ninth, notching his ninth save of the season.
“I wouldn’t say it was disappointing,” Kluber said. “Your goal is to obviously finish the inning, but I wasn’t going to second guess Tito to go get Cody.”
He was backed by a decent showing from his offense, as his club put up three runs in the second inning all coming via the long ball.
Carlos Santana led off the second with his 13th homer of the season off Royals starter Danny Duffy (5-8, 2.86 ERA). With a base-hit, Ryan Raburn came around to score on a Yan Gomes two-run blast two batters later, giving the Tribe a quick 3-0 lead.
It marked Santana’s seventh homer and 15th RBI over his last 27 games.
Kluber’s only mistake of the ballgame came in the fifth, on a solo homer by Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas. Five of Moustakas’ 10 long balls have now come against Indians pitching.
Over his last four starts, Kluber owns a 1.09 ERA with 29 strikeouts covering 29 1/3 innings.
“Whether it’s during the game, or in his workouts or his bullpens, he pays attention to detail and he really does it like you’re supposed to,” Francona said. “He wants to be really good.”
The Tribe offense tacked on another run off Duffy in the fifth on an RBI single by All-Star candidate Michael Brantley. The left-handed Royals starter went six innings surrendering four runs on 10 hits, while the hit by Brantley gives him a team-leading 57 RBI this year.
Cleveland (43-44) wins their second straight series, sitting 6.5 games behind first place Detroit in the American League Central standings.
Up next for Indians: The New York Yankees (44-43) invade Cleveland for the only time this season to open up four-game series beginning Monday night. Right-hander Justin Masterson (4-5, 5.16 ERA) gets the start for the Wahoos at 7:10 p.m.
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