Down late and being shut out, the Houston Astros rallied in a big way to trounce the Indians 11-2 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Held scoreless by reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and reliever Andrew Miller for seven innings, the Astros erupted for four runs in the eighth and seven more in the ninth.
The AL West-leading Astros won their fifth in a row and their 10th in 12 games. The Indians remained in first place in the AL Central, although they dropped one game below .500. The Astros also improved to 4-1 against the Indians this season, with two more games to play in this weekend’s series.
What started as a matchup of recent Cy Young winners, with Kluber (2014, 2017) facing the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel (2015), was determined by the bullpens.
Down 2-0 to start the eighth against Miller (1-3), the Astros rallied.
George Springer led off with a double, Alex Bregman walked and Jose Altuve smacked a two-run double to left. Cody Allen relieved Miller and got a groundout, with Altuve going to third.
Then Marwin Gonzalez put down a successful suicide squeeze bunt to score Altuve, and Max Stassi later drew a bases-loaded walk for the fourth run.
The Astros blew it open in the ninth off relievers Oliver Drake and Josh Tomlin. One run scored on a double by Carlos Correa, two more on a single by Evan Gattis, who had three hits, and another on a single by Jake Marisnick. Springer, who finished with three hits, then greeted Tomlin with a three-run home run to left field, his 11th of the season.
Joe Smith (2-1), the Astros’ second reliever, came on to get the one batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh to get the win. He followed Keuchel and Will Harris to the mound.
Keuchel went six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and one walk. He struck out five. He and Kluber both came away with no-decisions.
Kluber, who was trying to get his league-leading eighth win, went 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and no walks, while striking out seven. He left after an error on third baseman Jose Ramirez and singles by Gattis and Stassi loaded the bases.
Miller came on to get pinch hitter J.D. Davis — recently recalled from Triple-A Fresno, where he was hitting .415 with four homers and 36 RBIs in 146 plate appearances — on a blistering line drive that short-hopped Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who still turned it into an inning-ending double play to keep the shutout intact.
The Indians scored in the third on two-out doubles by Michael Brantley and Ramirez. Cleveland scored again in the sixth when Jason Kipnis grounded out, plating Edwin Encarnacion.
When Kluber fanned Stassi in the fifth inning, he moved into third place on the Indians’ career strikeout list with 1,278, passing Bob Lemon and Early Wynn. First is the legendary Bob Feller at 2,581 and second is Sam McDowell at 2,159.
—Field Level Media