Corey Kluber’s body language - and look on his face - said it all.
From the disapointment of losing a near-perfect game in the seventh inning, to the frustration of losing a complete-game shutout on a wacky defensive play inthe eighth, Thursday’s series-opener against the host Royals unraveled suddenly for Kluber and the Tribe.
After sitting down the first 19 batters the right-hander faced, An Omar Infante single up the middle erased Kluber's the no-hit bid. What came next in the eighth inning of the Royals 2-1, 14-inning affair isn't as easy to shrug off.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Indians left fielder Ryan Raburn dove after a ball down lofted down the line by Mike Moustakas. Raburn ran in and then slid in a desperate attempt to make the catch. But the ball glanced off his glove, rolled up his arm and then scooted away before settling at the base of the wall in foul territory.
Had the play ended there, Moustakas would stoped where he initially pulled up - at second base with a dobule.
Instead, Raburn scrambled after the ball. As he looked up and noticed third-base umpire signal a fair ball. Raburn jumped to his feet, ran over to scoop up the ball - and promptly spiked it into the ground.
"It was a little unusual," kluber said. "i thought it was going to go foul, just by the swing he took and being left-handed...I was surprised it stayed fair.".
A s it unfolded in real time, Kluber stood to the right of home, backin up the plate. it is from that spot that he watched the bizarre play unfold. With hands on his hips, Kluber watched in utter disbelief. Meanwhile, Moustakas continued to chug around the bases, not stopping until he’d scored on a double aided by a two-base error.
"I think I was more mad than (Kluber) was," Raburn said. "I don't think there was anyone that felt worse than me.".
While Moustakas’ teammates giddily fake fanned him with white towels in the Royals dugout, in typical Kluber robotic behavior, the right-hander gathered himself and finished the inning. As he slowly made his way to the third-base dugout, Kluber wore the blank look that’s earned him the nickname Klubot from the Cleveland media.
As if in shock themselves, there was little movement from the players in the Indians dugout as Kluber neared the steps. Finally, manager Terry Francona did the only thing a manager who feels his pitcher’s pain can do: he reached his left arm out with his hand in a fist to tap knuckles as Kluber passed. At the last second, Kluber seemed to grudgingly oblige.
"Ray made a really good effort," Francona said. "Some good things were happening, but the end result wasn't. Because we were shifting and (t.hird baseman Lonnie Chisenhall) saw (Raburn) didn't catch it, Lonnie sprinted back to third. So when Ray came up to throw, he tried to hold up, and the ball came out of his hand. It's fluky and it cost us a run, but it was just a bunch of guys trying hard to get in the right place."
Kluber came back out to pitch the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, Yan Gomes tied the game on a RBI single that sent the game into extra innings – with no one lmore relieved than Raburn.
"if there’s a different scenario where we were winning by a lot, we can probably laugh about it," he said. "But the way the game was playing out, as tight as it was and as great of a game as he pitched, I don’t think there’s anybody who felt worse than I did.”