The 28-year-old right-hander made another outstanding start, and
Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes homered to lead the Indians to a 7-1
win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night at Progressive Field.
The Indians (57-55) earned their fourth win in a row. The Reds
(56-56) dropped back to the .500 mark.
Kluber, who didn't allow an earned run while tossing complete games
in each of his previous two starts, allowed one run on six hits and
two walks in 7 1/3 innings Monday. In his past six starts, Kluber
(12-6) is 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA. Right-hander John Axford recorded the
final five outs for his 10th save of the season.
"Even when he's not at his best, he's still good," said Cleveland
manager Terry Francona of Kluber. "He's becoming one of the best
pitchers in the league."
Kluber has exceeded his win total from last year when he was 11-5.
"I started out not so great with my command, but I was able to reel
it in and had better command in the middle of the game," said
Kluber, who at one point in the middle innings retired 11 men in a
"He throws hard, and has late movement on his pitches in both
directions," said Francona. "That makes it tough on hitters and
that's a huge part of what he does."
"He was as advertised," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "I know he's
a tremendous pitcher, we all knew that coming in. However, we did
have five runners on in the first three innings. But the kid threw a
nice ballgame and did the things that we knew about. He's very
Cincinnati broke up the Indians' shutout bid after Kluber exited
with runners at first and second in the eighth inning. Reds first
baseman Brayan Pena doubled off left-hander Nick Hagadone, bringing
home right fielder Jay Bruce and cutting Cleveland's lead to 5-1.
"Every starter wants to go deep into the game, but in that situation
when it was still close, and my pitch count was up, I understand,"
said Kluber, who threw 110 pitches.
The run snapped Kluber's streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings.
It also snapped his streak of 25 consecutive innings without
allowing an earned run.
Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon (12-7) pitched five innings and
gave up five runs on six hits with one strikeout and three walks.
"I just got behind the count, and when I tried to throw strikes,
they took advantage of it," said Simon, who after going 12-3 with a
2.70 ERA in the first half of the season, is 0-4 with a 5.06 ERA
since the All-Star break.
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The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first. Second baseman Jason
Kipnis led off with a double into the gap in left-center field. Left
fielder Mike Aviles' sacrifice bunt moved Kipnis to second. Kipnis
then scored on a groundout to first by center fielder Michael
Simon held the Indians scoreless in the next two innings, but the
Indians struck again in the fourth. Brantley led off with a single,
and first baseman Carlos Santana followed with a single, moving
Brantley to second.
Chisenhall, Cleveland's third baseman, belted Simon's first pitch
over the wall in center field for a three-run homer. Chisenhall's
11th home run of the season gave the Indians a 4-0 lead.
Cleveland added to its lead in the fifth inning when shortstop Jose
Ramirez led off with a single and stole second base. Kipnis walked,
and the runners moved up to second and third on a groundout by
Aviles. Brantley then followed with a single, scoring Ramirez to
make it 5-0.
"It's nice to get an early lead like that, and then to add on, that
keeps the pressure on the other team," said Kluber.
The Indians added two insurance runs in the eighth inning when right
fielder David Murphy doubled and rode home on a home run by Gomes
off right-hander Carlos Contreras. It was the 15th homer of the year
for the Cleveland catcher.
NOTES: Indians OF Michael Bourn could be sent on a minor league
rehab assignment sometime this week. Bourn landed on the disabled
list July 6 due to a strained left hamstring. ... Indians DH Nick
Swisher did not play Monday due to a strained right wrist, which he
injured taking a swing in Sunday's game. Swisher said he hopes to
return to the lineup in the next day or two. ... Reds OF Billy
Hamilton has 43 stolen bases, the most by a Reds player since Deion
Sanders had 56 in 1997.
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