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Kluber's complete game sends Tribe to 3-1 win over Chicago

Offense rallies late; Indians ace bounces back in a big way

Kluber's complete game sends Tribe to 3-1 win over Chicago
Tribe ace Corey Kluber notches his third complete game of the season Saturday night.
September 7, 2014
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CLEVELAND—For a season that has endured countless ups and downs, there has been one constant that has defined the Indians all year long.

Pitching.

Saturday night at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario was no different.

Tossing his third complete game victory of the season, Corey Kluber (14-9, 2.51 ERA) and the Tribe edged the White Sox, 3-1 to win their second straight over Chicago in the series.

“That was tremendous,” manager Terry Francona said. “He had a lot left in the tank it looked like. When you can play a close game like that and not get your bullpen up, that’s probably how strong we feel about the way he’s pitching.”

After suffering losses in his last three starts, Kluber bounced back in a big way hurling nine dominant innings against the Pale Hose. Yielding just five hits, the right-hander didn't walk a batter and struck out eight.

“He spent a side session working a little bit on his direction to the plate,” Francona said. “I think that freed him up and he commanded the ball, especially with his fastball early. “He threw to the first eight hitters exclusively fastballs.”

The only damage against the Cleveland ace came in the third inning. White Sox left fielder Jordan Danks stole second off Kluber after a one-out single, and scored on an error by rookie Jesus Aguilar on a groundball to first off the bat of Adam Eaton.

Whiffing five batters in the ballgame, Kluber's 223 strikeouts on the season are the most by a Tribe pitcher since Gaylord Perry in 1973.

The extra side session in the bullpen seemed to work perfectly for the American League Cy Young candidate.

“I was just getting a little too closed off the last few starts,” Kluber said. “We just worked on my direction a little bit in the bullpen and it was a pretty easy adjustment nothing major. It was an easy fix and got it back on track.”

With the victory, Cleveland (73-67) moves up a game in the A.L. Wild Card race now sitting four games in back of the Detroit Tigers.

They also improve to 17-1-4 series record on the year after winning the first game of a series.

Offensively, three key players that have been hot at the plate since the All-Star break provided all the runs the Indians needed on the night.

Carlos Santana drilled a solo homer on the first pitch from White Sox starter Jose Quintana in the fourth to tie the game up at 1-1. It was the switch-hitting slugger’s 25th long ball of the season, the most by a Cleveland player since Santana hit 27 home runs in 2011.

Like he has all season, Quintana held Tribe hitters to just the one run on seven hits through six quality innings.

But Cleveland bats would come to life in the seventh once ChiSox manager Robin Ventura went to his bullpen. After right-hander Zach Putnam (4-3, 2.14 ERA) walked Michael Bourn to lead off the inning, 21-year-old shortstop Jose Ramirez drilled an RBI triple to deep center giving the Tribe a one run lead.

Four pitches later, Michael Brantley got in on the action lining an RBI base-hit to right field for the club’s third run of the contest.

“He definitely had an effect on the game tonight,” Francona said of the speedy Ramirez. “I thought Bourny did a good job when he was out first making them pay attention to him. And then Jose got a pitch he could hit and that changed the game.”

Over his last 22 games, the switch-hitting infielder is now hitting .326 (28-for-86) with eight extra-base hits, nine RBI and 12 runs scored.

Through translator Roberto Perez, Ramirez spoke of his recent success at the plate.

“He said he was trying to put the ball in play,” Perez said. “He [Putnam] had a really good splitter so he wasn’t trying to do too much with it and put the ball in play. He said he was trying to run as hard as he could because he didn’t know if it was going to bounce.”

Getting his first taste of the big leagues as a September call-up last year, the Indians own a 52-36 record with Ramirez on the roster over the last two seasons.

“He said there is no pressure, he’s just playing hard like he always does and playing to win,” Perez said. “Last year it helped him a lot, he got experience and saw how guys handled things.”

For now, it has been Indians pitching that has handled the opposition, giving them the potential to play in October again. Over the last 25 games, the rotation owns a 1.94 ERA having allowed just 33 earned runs in 153 innings.

“That’s the only choice we have right now is to put the past behind us, and focus on each game as itself, going out there and try and win every night,” Kluber said.

Up next for Indians: The Tribe looks for the series sweep against Chicago in the finale Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (6-4, 2.94 ERA) toes the rubber opposite of White Sox starter Scott Carroll (5-9, 5.07 ERA) at 1:05 p.m.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Robert
September 7, 2014 - 11:43 AM EDT
If Chiz is to play the OF then he should play the OF. The best way to insure poor defensive performance is to being inconsistent with what positions a player needs to prepare for and get comfortable.

Also, it would seem to me Chiz's D has been getting better - especially his throws which seem to be lasers to first.

Bob
LeaguePark
September 7, 2014 - 10:30 AM EDT
Where does Chisenhall fit into the Indians plans? Is he trade bait or do they make him a 1B/DH?
Walter
September 7, 2014 - 10:02 AM EDT
Indians best chance to make the playoffs this year is to win the division. That scenario is still much alive.

Currently the Indians are 2 games behind the Tigers in the lose column and 5 games behind KC.
KC plays NY today and goes into Detroit for 3 games
Det plays San Fran tonight and 3 games against KC.

If this happens before the Indians hit Detroit next weekend

KC goes 0-4 78 - 66
det goes 3-1 80 - 66
Indians 4-1 77 - 68

We have 3 way horse race to the finish.

This team has been the most interesting, frustrating and biggest tease team to watch.

Tony
September 7, 2014 - 9:51 AM EDT
Folks, Chisenhall's defense at this point is what it is. LIttle to no upside to improve. The same issues he has now are the same issues he has had since his first full season at third in 2009. Sometimes a guy just is what he is. I think next year is a transition year for Urshela. He should spend some time in AAA, but should be mixed in to see what they have. If he settles in by the end of the year, then third base is ready to be manned by him starting in 2016. But I like the idea of having Chisenhall split time right field/third base to allow Urshela a shot at third by May-June.
Rocky55
September 7, 2014 - 9:23 AM EDT
One of the reasons, and there are quite a few, that I don't want to trade Santana is his reported excellent defense at 1B. Don't mean that Aguilar won't improve but I'm sick of this team giving away runs. Nice to see Kluber return to form. Back on track for the CYA. Yeah, right, like they'll give it to anyone except Felix if it's close. BTW, Kluber had 8 K's last night, not 5, and his ERA is 2.47. Taking off my Tribe hat, Felix is having a slightly better season than Kluber but just having a pitcher who comps favorably with Felix is pretty cool.
LeaguePark
September 7, 2014 - 9:03 AM EDT
I think Aguilar will be alright if you give him playing time. He put a charge into one ball last night. Like most young players, he wants to impress and is over eager. This leads to swinging at balls out of the strike zone. He needs to settle down and avoid going fishing at balls out of the strike zone
Canadian Joe
September 7, 2014 - 9:03 AM EDT
Nice outing by Kluber. Whew !!! Can breathe again. Would like to see a bit of Urshela in the next few weeks. Give him a taste of MLB, and give him a bit of exposure. His breakout year gives reason for optimism, as 3B was a black hole a few years ago, and now with Chis and Urshela, it looks like we could be set there for a while.
troy
September 7, 2014 - 8:50 AM EDT
In a perfect world Chisenhall improves his D enough to give his replacement Urshela another year in AAA to finish off his development. I thought Kluber was wearing down since he hit the 200 inning mark. Glad to see him back to normal. Now we have to face the dominating Scott Carroll this afternoon
Snore-m
September 7, 2014 - 7:47 AM EDT
For once, I agree with you Norm. The Grimm reaper, while unoriginal, it does seem to fit eh? Has Kluber pitched long enough to have a mean though? Kluber's not regressing. Can't wait for smarty pants Grimm to mention it was the White Sox they were playing.

Aguilar does appear to be overmatched every time he is anywhere on a big league field. I fear THIS IS the mean.
Norm
September 7, 2014 - 7:36 AM EDT
I sure hope we can hear from the Grimm reaper about Kluber "regressing to the mean". Sometimes a slump is just a slump and not regression. Personally do not think Aguilar is ready for the majors but you play what you got.
LeaguePark
September 7, 2014 - 7:05 AM EDT
Tribe had some good defense Saturday night. Chisenhall & Bourn in particular. Also caught a break as JRam's triple & Brantley's RBI could have gone for outs.

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