Kluber strikes out 10, pitches Indians past Astros 5-4
By JOSHUA KOCH, Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — Corey Kluber is starting to put together quite a streak.
The AL Cy Young Award winner struck out 10, dominating in the early innings and pitching the Cleveland Indians past the Houston Astros 5-4 Saturday.
The Indians ace made his 22nd straight start of allowing no more than three earned runs, breaking the team record set by Sonny Siebert in 1965.
“I don’t have a magic answer,” Kluber said. “I guess it goes back to that consistency, trying to be consistent not only from start to start but from day to day. The work in between starts, I think that’s big to try and get you in a position where you feel like you each time out.”
Kluber (7-2) gave up two runs — on Carlos Correa’s eighth homer in the sixth — and six hits in seven innings. He walked none.
Kluber dominated the World Series champions in the first four innings, striking out eight in that stretch.
“I executed most of my pitches pretty well early on,” Kluber said. “Later on, the pitch Correa hit out wasn’t a good pitch.”
Alex Bregman cut the lead to 5-3 with a solo home run in the Houston eighth. After Jose Altuve doubled, Cody Allen retired Correa and Brian McCann on popups to end the eighth.
Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run in the ninth off Allen, pulling the Astros within one.
Allen was able to get the final two outs for his first save since April 25 and sixth of the season.
“It’s a tough spot,” Allen said about the five-out save. “I was put in the same spot in New York against a very talented club like the one they’ve got here. Unfortunately we weren’t able to hold that one down. That’s a big win for us.”
Michael Brantley got the scoring started for Cleveland in the first with his seventh home run, connecting off Dallas Keuchel (3-6). Cleveland tacked on two more runs in the inning with run-scoring doubles from Edwin Encarnacion and Jason Kipnis, making it 3-0.
Jose Ramirez had an RBI single in the fifth and Yank Gomes hit a solo home run off Joe Smith in the sixth, pushing the lead to 5-0.
“Anytime you can play with the lead it’s good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We got a couple of add-on runs that we needed because when you play these guys they just keep coming. Fortunately, they ran out of time.”
Keuchel allowed four runs and six hits, striking out three in five innings. This is the first time Keuchel has given up four or more runs in a start since April 27 against Oakland.
“I felt good from the get-go,” Keuchel said. “That’s why it’s so frustrating. I come out of the game with 90-something pitches in five innings with four runs on the board. With a team like that, a couple lefties in the lineup, I should be able to navigate through and make pitches to certain guys.
“There were a few guys who I didn’t want to do damage on me, and they didn’t, but overall, a few pitches got away from me and McCann and that was the difference,” he said.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf strain) will begin his rehab assignment on Monday with Triple-A Columbus. Indians manager Terry Francona said he will play three or four innings or a couple of at-bats on Monday and then workout on Tuesday.
Astros: OF Josh Reddick (left leg irritation) was held out of the starting lineup for a second-straight day. Reddick pinch-hit in the ninth and flied out to center.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (5-2, 3.66 ERA) starts the three-game series finale on Sunday night. Carrasco is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in his career against Houston.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (5-2, 3.63 ERA) gets the start on Sunday night as he tries to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season. In his last start, McCullers pitched six strong innings against the Angels on May 14, giving up two runs on four hits in a 2-1 loss.