Corey Kluber continues his success against the Minnesota Twins. Friday night Kluber tossed his second straight complete game against the Twins this week as the Indians open up their eleven game road trip with a 6-1 victory at Target Field.
Kluber who flirted with a no hitter against Minnesota in his last start on Sunday at Progressive Field before settling for a complete game giving up one run on three hits was just as dominating in Minnesota on Friday night. The only difference Kluber allowed just one hit. Both times it was Joe Mauer who ended Kluber’s bids for a no hitter against the Twins this week. Mauer singled off Kluber in the seventh inning on Sunday. Friday night Mauer crushed Kluber’s only mistake pitch of the game into the upper deck in right center field for a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Kluber in Friday’s complete game allowed just one earned run on one hit with one walk and seven strike outs. This week against Minnesota, Kluber pitched 18 innings allowing two earned runs on four hits with 17 strike outs and two walks. It’s the sixth straight start against Minnesota that Kluber has struck out at least seven Twins batters. Kluber is the first Indian to throw back to back complete games against the same team in consecutive starts since Dennis Martinez back in the strike season of 1994.
Kluber improves his record to 8-12 on the season with an earned run average of 3.34. The Indians offense provided Kluber plenty of run support as well on Friday night.
The tribe offense rocked a shorthanded Twins pitching staff for 14 hits. Trevor May, after pitching in the Minnesota bullpen for part of the season, was a spot starter after Phil Hughes, who lost to Kluber on Sunday, was placed on the disabled list. May went only three innings allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strike outs. May took the loss to fall to 8-8 on the season. The two runs scored on Giovanny Urshela’s two run home run to the Indians bullpen in the second inning.
J.R. Graham replaced May and didn’t pitch any better. The Indians scored three runs of Graham in his two and third innings of work. Mike Aviles would drive home Urshela in the fourth inning to make the score 3-0 Indians. In the sixth inning, Lonnie Chisenhall would end the night for Graham with a bloop rbi single to center to bring home Abraham Almonte to make it 4-1. Chisenhall would score on an Aviles double off Michael Tomkin to close the book on May.
Francisco Lindor would finish the scoring in the sixth inning and for the game with an rbi single right back up the middle into center field to bring home Aviles making the score 6-1 tribe. Lindor continues to swing a hot bat, going three for five with a double and an rbi. Lindor is now on a nine game hitting streak.
The Indians played again without their two best hitters Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis. Brantley is battling a sore shoulder and is expected to be held out of this entire series. The Indians have now won three straight against Minnesota and five of their last six games overall.