CLEVELAND: Corey Kluber’s dominance was on full display again Friday night at Progressive Field as the stoic right-hander continued to let his pitching do the talking.
Kluber and the Indians cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Kluber struck out 12 in another standout performance, his fifth double-digit strikeout effort of his career and third of the season.
Kluber’s mastery with his late-breaking cutter had the Rockies flailing from the start. By the sixth inning, they were so frustrated, a called strikeout of Michael Cuddyer, Kluber’s 11th of the game, left the veteran batter furious and in the face of home plate umpire John Tumpane.
Moments after manager Walt Weiss jogged out to separate the two and resume the argument with Tumpane, he was ejected.
The Indians’ offense backed Kluber with an early run and then rallied for four runs in the fifth to take the lead for good, helping to snap the Tribe’s four-game losing streak.
They knocked Rockies starter Juan Nicasio out of the game after just 4? innings.
The Indians made Nicasio work from the start. They took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with three singles, two coming with two outs and capped by Lonnie Chisenhall’s RBI single.
Kluber had already racked up five strikeouts in the first three innings before the Rockies got to him in the fourth. Corey Dickerson led off with a double and with one out, Carlos González smacked a two-run home run to center that put the Rockies ahead 2-1.
After falling behind in the count 0-2 in the fifth inning after David Murphy led off with a double, Indians rookie Jesus Aguilar drove a Nicasio pitch to center. But he was robbed by a leaping catch at the wall by Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon.
But Michael Bourn followed with a run-scoring single up the middle that tied the score at 2-2. But Asdrubal Cabrera made up for Aguilar’s near miss with a homer to left field two batters later.
Before the rally was complete, Chisenhall added his second run-scoring hit of the night, an RBI-double that scored Michael Brantley and gave the Indians a 5-2 lead.
Brantley’s two-out double in the inning extended his Progressive Field hitting streak to a club-record 19 games and his overall hitting streak to 15 games.
One strikeout away from tying his career high of 13 set on May 4, Kluber came back out to start the eighth inning having thrown 103 pitches. He got the first out on a grounder to short, but with a couple of left-handed hitters up next, Indians manager Terry Francona made his way out to the mound.
Left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski relieved Kluber, who received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.