The Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals and see their record improves to 49-44. The Royals lose their third in a row and fall to 43-47 on the year.
Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.88 ERA) was fantastic working 7.2 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits striking out 7 and walking 3. He made 112 pitches, 72 for strikes, and had 14 swing and miss strikes on the night.
With a 4-0 lead he ran into trouble in the fifth inning and how he worked out of it is a sign of growth. In his July 2nd start against these same Royals he cruised through the first four innings before loading the bases with nobody out. He retired Jarrod Dyson on a line drive to left field to bring Alex Gordon to the plate. He fell behind 3-0 and threw a get me over fastball that Gordon launched into the seats for a Grand Slam Home Run to tie the game at 4-4.
Tonight once again he had held the Royals scoreless through 4 innings but trouble presented itself in the 5th. David Lough tripled to lead off the inning and Alcides Escobar grounded out to first base for the first out. Kluber walked Elliot Johnson (who stole second) and Jarrod Dyson to load the bases and bring Alex Gordon to the plate once again with the bases loaded.
Kluber jumped ahead in the count 0-2 but Gordon worked the count full. Kluber delivered his patented hard curveball that Gordon swung over for the second out in the inning. The Indians pitching staff has had a difficult time retiring the side without giving up runs. Entering the game they ranked second in the major leagues in runs allowed with 2-out with 181 (LA Angles 1st with 187). The 2-out bug would not bite the Indians as Kluber got Eric Hosmer to ground back to the mound to end the inning.
Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher led off the inning with singles and Ned Yost brought in Aaron Crow to replace Collins. Carlos Santana rocketed a single back up the middle to center fielder Jarrod Dyson who threw a strike to home plate well ahead of Jason Kipnis but he was able to use a back of the plate slide to avoid the tag by Royals catcher Salvador Perez and the Tribe had a 1-0 lead.
Mark Reynolds shocked the Royals and the 24,077 in attendance by laying down a swinging bunt that evaded Aaron Crow to load the bases. Shortly after the successful bunt Mark Reynolds was trending on Twitter.
Francona allowed Kluber to come out to work the 8th inning and gave up a walk to Alex Gordon but was removed from the game after striking out Eric Hosmer for the second out . With his pitch count at 118 and Billy Butler due up Francona turned to Joe Smith who came in and retired Butler on a ground out to second on just 1 pitch.
With Chris Perez‘s workload being managed after his stint on the disabled list Francona went to Cody Allen to work the ninth. Allen did his best Perez impersonation loading the bases before striking out Jarrod Dyson to end the game and picking up his 2nd save on the year.
It was the the Indians 12th shutout on the season which leads the American League and trails on the Pittsburgh Pirates who have 13.