Kluber wins 14th, Indians defeat Tigers
DETROIT — Spotting Corey Kluber a four-run lead in the first inning probably isn’t the easiest route to victory for an opponent.
Abraham Almonte drove in three runs with a double and a single and Kluber tamed Detroit on eight hits in eight innings to win his 14th game as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Saturday night for their 10th straight win.
“It’s really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of staking Kluber to a 4-0 edge before the Tigers came to bat. “And he made them hold up.
“We didn’t do a lot after that, but it’s a good way to play. Especially when Kluber’s pitching.”
“He’s an outstanding pitcher who has already won one Cy Young and is probably going to win another,” said Detroit bench coach Gene Lamont, acting manager while Brad Ausmus was serving a one-game suspension. “If you are going to be down 4-0 after the first inning against him, you are going to have a tough time getting back into the game.”
Kluber (14-4) had Detroit shut out through six innings, but Mikie Mahtook doubled leading off the seventh, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Bryan Holaday’s single to right center.
Kluber, 7-7 lifetime against Detroit, stranded a runner at third with one out in the third and left runners at the corners with one out the next inning. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
“That was huge,” Kluber said of his big early lead. “Obviously that’s a big cushion. You try to just pound the strike zone, keep them in check.
“We have to keep doing what we do. Showing up, working hard, keep doing the things we’re doing.”
Cody Allen had to come in for his 23rd save, which he got by getting Ian Kinsler to ground out to short, but only after Jose Iglesias shot an RBI single to right. Bryan Shaw allowed singles to Mahtook and Jeimer Candelario to open the inning and was relieved after two flyouts to center, the last of which advanced Mahtook to third.
“That’s why a lot of times we go to Cody in a four-run game,” Francona said. “It’s not because Bryan can’t do it, but when you give up a couple runners you’ve got to get your guy up hot anyway.
“But because (Shaw) was throwing in the eighth, and Cody had thrown 30 pitches Friday, we were trying to minimize what Cody would have had to throw in this game.”
The Indians jumped on Jordan Zimmermann (8-12) for four runs in the first inning. Bradley Zimmer and Jose Ramirez each tripled with one out and it became 2-0 when Edwin Encarnacion singled up the middle. Carlos Santana doubled Encarnacion to third and both scored on Almonte’s two-out ground single to right.
Lonnie Chisenhall doubled with one out in the fifth and scored on Almonte’s double to left center.
Cleveland center fielder Bradley Zimmer had to come out of the game in the fourth after hitting his head on the turf trying to make a diving catch.
“He’s OK,” Francona said. “It was precautionary because he had a little bit of blurred vision. He’ll be monitored for concussion symptoms. But he was not diagnosed with a concussion. He doesn’t think he has one, but we certainly have to keep an eye on it.”
Zimmermann allowed 12 hits on 98 pitches spread over five innings. He didn’t walk anybody and struck out two.
“I thought he missed some spots early,” Lamont said, “and he’s throwing 90-91, so he’s got to have outstanding command. That didn’t happen early on, but it looked like he was better in the last few innings.”
Alex Presley had four singles for the Tigers, the first four-hit game of his career.
There were no walks in the game.
NOTES: Tigers DH Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) has been declared out for the season and will undergo an ablation procedure that Detroit expects to have him ready for 2018. ... RHP Danny Salazar (elbow inflammation) has been penciled in to start Tuesday at Chicago against the White Sox, according to Cleveland manager Terry Francona. ... Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera (six games), RHP Alex Wilson (three games) and manager Brad Ausmus (one game) all began serving their suspensions for their parts in a scrum with the New York Yankees Aug. 24. ... Before Wednesday (New York) and Friday (Detroit), the last time Cleveland swept back-to-back doubleheaders on the road was July 2 and 4, 1944, in Washington and New York.