Through nine innings: Indians 2, Nationals 0 (F)
Corey Kluber was absolutely terrific and out-shadowed the expected ace of the day, Washington’s Stephen Strasburg.
Kluber threw eight scoreless innings and somehow managed to get his way out of three jams, all of which saw at least two runners on base with no outs. The latter scoring threat, in the seventh, was the most improbable. Washington loaded the bases with nobody out in a one-run game. Kluber first got Jhonatan Solano to hit a liner to first base Mark Reynolds, who caught it and doubled off Steve Lombardozzi. Roger Bernadina then grounded out to shortstop Mike Aviles to end the inning. It was the third inning in a four-inning stretch in which the Nationals had multiple runners on base with no one out and came away empty handed.
Kluber’s final line: eight innings pitched, eight strikeouts, seven hits allowed, no walks and no runs on 114 pitches.
Vinnie Pestano came on in relief to record the save.
The Indians tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Michael Bourn doubled down the left-field line to open the inning and was bunted over to third by Mike Aviles. Jason Kipnis brought Bourn home with a deep fly ball to right field.
Through six innings, Indians 1, Nationals 0
Should Corey Kluber come out for the seventh inning, he deserves to do it with a cape.
In the fourth and sixth innings, an error (the first by third baseman John McDonald and the second by first baseman Mark Reynolds) led to the Nationals having runners on the corners with no out. Both times, Kluber shut the door.
In the fourth, Kluber struck out three straight batters to get out of the inning, drawing a first pump from catcher Yan Gomes and a large ovation from the crowd. In the sixth, he struck out Ryan Zimmerman and then got Adam LaRoche to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
For the Indians' offense, the first hit of the day (and the only one off of Strasburg) also brought home the first run.
In the top of the fourth, Kipnis walked, stole second base and then advanced to third on a throwing error. Carlos Santana then brought Kipnis home with a single right back up the middle, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Strasburg left the game after five innings and only 82 pitches. He struck out four and walked four.
Cody Allen and Nick Hagadone are warming up in the Indians' bullpen.
Through three innings: Indians 0, Nationals 0
So far, Indians starter Corey Kluber and Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg have each stayed clean but with minor blemishes.
Kluber allowed a double in the first and a single in the second (that probably should have been caught, but right fielder Drew Stubbs misplayed the ball on his first step) but quickly worked out of both jams.
Strasburg, who returned to the Nationals today after a lat-muscle injury put him on the disabled list, hasn't allowed a hit but did issue two walks and has struggled some with his command. He's nearing 50 pitches heading into the fourth inning.