Kluber Throws 5-hit Shutout; Indians Beat Tigers 4-0
CLEVELAND (AP) - Corey Kluber gave the Detroit Tigers two chances. Then he looked like a Cy Young Award winner.
Kluber pitched a five-hit shutout and the Cleveland Indians used a four-run fourth inning to defeat Detroit for the fifth straight time this season, 4-0 on Wednesday night.
"The way he threw the ball bodes well for him moving forward," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That was really fun to watch."
Kluber (2-3) worked out of jams in the second and fourth to beat Detroit for the second time in two weeks. The right-hander, who won the AL's top pitching prize in 2014, struck out seven and walked two in his second career shutout and eighth complete game.
"I wouldn't say we had plenty of chances," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Really, the story was Kluber."
Anibal Sanchez (3-3) didn't allow a hit through three innings. But he gave up four runs on three hits, a walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch in the fourth.
Michael Brantley's RBI single and Mike Napoli's run-scoring double gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead. Another run scored on Sanchez's wild pitch before Yan Gomes' double capped the scoring in a game that took only 2 hours, 19 minutes.
The crowd of 8,776 narrowly topped the smallest in Progressive Field history (8,726) in 2011. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series Wednesday night across the street at Quicken Loans Arena.
Cleveland swept a three-game series at Comerica Park last month and won the opener of this three-game set Tuesday night.
Kluber retired his final 10 hitters, but struggled early. Detroit loaded the bases with one out in the second and he threw 21 pitches in the inning, including nine straight balls.
Nick Castellanos singled with one out, followed by walks to James McCann and Anthony Gose. Jose Iglesias bounced into a force play at home, and Ian Kinsler struck out.
"I wish I had an answer," Kluber said of his wildness. "I would have corrected it quicker. I totally lost it."
He dodged trouble again in the fourth when Detroit had runners on first and third with nobody out after Justin Upton doubled and Castellanos singled.
Third baseman Juan Uribe fielded McCann's grounder, looked Upton back to the bag and threw to second to start a double play. Gose struck out to end the inning.
Kluber's escape seemed to carry over.
"That gives the pitcher a boost, but I think the whole team a boost as well," he said.
Sanchez allowed one baserunner — a leadoff walk to Carlos Santana in the first — through three innings. The right-hander temporarily unraveled in the fourth, though.
Santana drew a leadoff walk and Francisco Lindor was hit by a pitch on the left elbow with one out. Brantley's single to right gave Cleveland the lead. Napoli's double scored Lindor.
Sanchez's wild pitch with Gomes batting scored Brantley before Gomes' RBI double.
After that, Sanchez set down nine in a row. He gave up four hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked three.
Castellanos, who leads the AL with a .378 batting average, was 2 for 3.
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (sore right shoulder), on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo, is throwing at 120 feet. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list in March with a broken left wrist after being hit by a pitch. Maybin injured his shoulder after starting his rehab assignment.
Indians: C Roberto Perez (broken right thumb) could learn Thursday if he needs surgery when he'll be re-evaluated by team doctors. He's been wearing a splint on his hand since Saturday, when he was injured tagging a runner at the plate.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer, the team's top pitching prospect, makes his second major league start Thursday night in Cleveland. He won his debut against Minnesota on Friday, allowing two runs in five innings.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer earned the win against Detroit on April 24 after teammate Carlos Carrasco exited in the third inning with a pulled hamstring. Bauer will be making his second start of the season.