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Kluber shuts out Royals 3-0

Kluber shuts out Royals 3-0
Corey Kluber (Photo: Lianna Holub)
July 12, 2013
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Cleveland, OH -- Corey Kluber pitched scoreless baseball into the eighth inning and Michael Bourn had a two-run, pinch hit double as the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 3-0 in the opening game of the final series before the All-Star break.

The Tribe offense struggled to get on base against Bruce Chen, who was making his first start of the season for the Royals. Chen allowed just one hit, a fifth inning double by Carlos Santana, and a walk over six innings of work.

"I did everything I could to help us win, but Kluber was just a little bit better," said Chen after the game.

Kluber (7-5, 3.88) allowed just three hits and struck out eight in seven and two-thirds innings. The right-hander, who has established himself as a solid middle rotation workhorse, ran into trouble just once in fifth.

"I stepped back and took a deep breath," Kluber said. "All I can do is calm down, execute pitches and get out of it."

After a leadoff triple, Kluber walked two hitters to load the bases, but struck out Alex Gordon and retired Eric Hosmeron an unassisted ground out to retire the side.

"He certainly stays composed," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "For a young pitcher, that's a big compliment."

After Gordon worked a one-out walk in the eighth, Kluber, who won for the fourth time in his last five decisions, was removed after striking out Hosmer.

Joe Smith recorded the final out in the eighth. Cody Allen, subbing in for closer Chris Perez, struck out Jarrod Dysonwith the bases loaded for his second save of the season. The Tribe pitching staff limited the Royals lineup to just five hits en route to Cleveland's American League-leading 12th shutout.

After allowing two singles, Allen walked pinch hitter George Kottaras but struck out Dyson to end the game.

"I was trying to make one good pitch at a time," Allen said. "Obviously, I didn't want to get into a bases-loaded situation but that's where I was."

The Indians hitters came to life after Chen left the game, plating three runs in the seventh inning.

Tim Collins (2-4, 4.09) allowed back-to-back singles to Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher to open the inning and was pulled in favor of Aaron Crow. Santana greeted Crow with a single to center, scoring Kipnis from second on a close play at the plate. With runners on first and second, Mark Reynolds, mired in a 2-for-31 slump in July, laid down a perfectly-placed bunt to load the bases.

"That caught everybody on the Royals, in the stands, in the press box and me by surprise, but it might have won us a game," Francona said.

Bourn followed with a two-RBI double to right-center, putting the Indians up 3-0.

Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (8-6, 4.12) will face Indians lefty Scott Kazmir (4-4, 4.74) in the second game of the series on Saturday.

Notes: Zach McAllister (sprained middle finger) will make a rehab start at Double-A Akron on Saturday. … The Indians have 12 shutout wins in their first 93 games of the season for the first time since 1968.

Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English.  He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall.  Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.

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