Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Corey Kluber tossed a four-hit complete game while Asdrubal Cabrera and David Murphy knocked in two runs apiece to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 5-1 win over the Kansas City Royals Thursday at Progressive Field.
The Indians used a five-run outburst in the fifth inning as they took three of four-game series and finished their homestand with a 4-3 record to pull back to the break-even mark at 11-11.
Kluber (2-2) yielded just one unearned run, struck out a career-high 11 and didn’t walk a batter in his first career complete game. The right- hander used the strong performance to lower his ERA from 5.40 to 3.90.
“There’s a fire in there,” said Indians manager Terry Francona of Kluber. “He competes. He wants to be really good. For a guy who doesn’t have a ton of time in the majors, he goes about it the right way.”
Bruce Chen (1-2), who entered with a 7-1 record against Cleveland dating to 2010, absorbed the loss after he was charged with five runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings as the Royals slipped to 10-11.
Cleveland’s struggling cleanup hitter, Carlos Santana, got things rolling with a leadoff double in the fifth that snapped the third baseman’s 0-for-16 drought.
Michael Brantley followed with a base hit into center field, scoring Santana to give the Indians a 1-0 advantage.
From there, Chen walked Ryan Raburn and gave up a single to left to Yan Gomes to load the bases with no outs. Murphy made the left-hander pay by slicing a pitch down the third-base line and into left for a two-run single.
Mike Aviles kept the line moving with a sacrifice bunt, allowing Gomes and Murphy to each advance 90 feet on the bases. Cabrera then delivered a two-run double to left field that pushed Cleveland to a 5-0 lead and ended Chen’s afternoon.
Kansas City’s lone breakthrough against Kluber came in the seventh inning when first baseman Nick Swisher mishandled the ball for an error that allowed Omar Infante to score on the play.