Kluber wins 4th straight as Indians beat White Sox

Posted on August 17, 2016

Corey Kluber is pitching like an ace during the most crucial time of the season.

Kluber allowed one run in six innings to win his fourth consecutive start, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox for the seventh straight time, 3-1 on Tuesday night.

“He looks like the tank’s full, which is good news for us,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Kluber (13-8) struck out seven and walked two, allowing his only run on Justin Morneau’s one-out homer in the sixth. Kluber is 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts since a July 3 loss at Toronto.

Kluber’s latest win helped Cleveland open a six-game lead over second-place Detroit in the AL Central. The Indians have outscored the White Sox by a combined 36-13 in their last seven meetings.

“He has always got movement on the ball, but tonight he was throwing it at the front hip and moving it to the back,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You don’t know when to react because it’s moving so quickly off the plate.”

Kluber allowed seven hits, but walked only two and struck out seven.

“It wasn’t the smoothest outing,” he said. “They had a lot of baserunners, but I did a good job of, when I needed to, making pitches.”

Andrew Miller retired six straight batters, and Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances to complete a seven-hitter.

Miller, acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline, needed only 16 pitches to get through the seventh and eighth.

“It’s one thing to have his stuff because his stuff’s really good, but be doesn’t mess around,” Francona said. “He speeds them up with the breaking ball. He keeps firing strikes.”

Miller has allowed three hits and struck out 11 in 8 2/3 innings over seven appearances with the Indians. The left-hander struck out Adam Eaton in the seventh but the other five outs were on grounders.

“Strikeouts are nice, but I’ll take ground balls every time,” he said. “If I throw two innings, I might as throw as many grounders as possible.”

Francisco Lindor hit an RBI double in the first, and the Indians stretched their lead on run-scoring singles by Mike Napoli in the third and Jason Kipnis in the seventh. Napoli has a career-high 16-game hitting streak.

Jose Quintana (9-9) lost for the first time since June 28, giving up two runs and seven hits in six innings. He had been 4-0 in his previous seven starts.

Chicago’s Todd Frazier was 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.


Cleveland 3B Jose Ramirez made a diving backhanded stop near the line on one hop of a ball hit by Omar Narvaez and threw him out in the fourth. Ramirez laid on his back with a broad smile to celebrate the play.


White Sox: 2B Brett Lawrie (strained left hamstring) is 5 for 12 through three games of his rehab assignment at Double-A Birmingham. Ventura said he could be activated as soon as Thursday.

Indians: The team is optimistic OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder) will be ready for baseball activities when spring training begins. He had surgery for right biceps tendinitis Monday.


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Cubs down Rangers in Darvish’s return

Posted on July 16, 2016

Cubs manager Joe Maddon had a plan for facing Yu Darvish in the Texas star’s return from the disabled list: load up on lefties and wait him out.

It worked, neutralizing Darvish’s nasty slider and his nine strikeouts.

Darvish couldn’t get through the fifth inning and the lefty-hitting Anthony Rizzo’s two-run double helped lead Chicago past the Rangers 3-1 on Saturday.

“A guy like that, if you just let him have his way, he’ll be sitting on 70 (pitches) in the sixth inning, he’s going to beat you up,” Maddon said. “His stuff is that good.”

In his first start since June 8 because of shoulder pain, Darvish (2-1) reached 98 mph and allowed only two runs and two hits. But the Japanese right-hander lasted just 4 1/3 innings thanks to four walks and shoddy defence.

“I was throwing the ball well,” Darvish said through an interpreter while declaring himself pain-free. “It was a little different feeling from the last rehab outing in a good way.”

Jason Hammel (8-5) struck out seven in six innings for the Cubs, who won their second straight in the interleague matchup of division leaders.

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