CLEVELAND (AP) Corey Kluber’s losing streak is over. And that’s good news for the Indians’ playoff hopes.
Kluber pitched a five-hitter to win for the first time in a month, rookie Jose Ramirez hit a go-ahead triple in a two-run seventh inning and Cleveland beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 Saturday night.
Kluber (14-9) allowed an unearned run, struck out eight and walked none in his third big league complete game – all this season. He had been 0-3 in four starts since winning at the New York Yankees on Aug. 9 and in his previous start allowed a career-high three homers in a 12-1 loss to Detroit on Monday.
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The right-hander, who has carried the Indians all season, wasn’t concerned about his recent problems.
”I’ve always tried to take the ball every fifth day when it’s your turn and pitch as long as you can,” he said. ”Hopefully that’s why you do all that work between starts so when you get late in the season you’re not wearing down.”
Manager Terry Francona has no worries about his ace.
”His tank looks as full as it’s ever been,” he said.
Third-place Cleveland closed within five games of first-place Kansas City in the AL Central. The Indians are four games back of Seattle, which played later Saturday, for the AL’s second wild card.
The Indians lost three of four to Detroit coming into this series, but have bounced back with two straight wins.
”That’s the only choice we have right now to put the past behind us,” Kluber said. ”Whatever happened the night before doesn’t have any bearing on the next game.”
White Sox starter Jose Quintana allowed one run and seven hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked one.
With the score 1-1, Michael Bourn walked with one out in the seventh against Zach Putnam (4-3) after fouling off a pair of full-count pitches and scored when Ramirez tripled off the wall in right-center. Four pitchers later, Ramirez came home on Michael Brantley’s single.
Chicago, which has lost 13 of 17, threatened when Conor Gillaspie singled with one out in the ninth. After Avisail Garcia hit into a forceout, Kluber struck out Andy Wilkins on a curveball.
Kluber retired his first seven hitters before Jordan Danks singled off the glove of a leaping Jason Kipnis at second base. Danks stole second and scored when first baseman Jesus Aguilar allowed Adam Eaton’s grounder to bounce off his glove and into short right field for an error.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura was impressed with Kluber’s performance.
”He moves it all over,” Ventura said. ”He’s up there with anybody. You know you’re in for a tough night when you’re facing him. He goes deep in the game, he works quick, doesn’t ever seem to get rattled.”
Carlos Santana’s leadoff homer in the fourth tied the game.
White Sox: Closer Jake Petricka is unavailable this weekend after the birth of his daughter. Manager Robin Ventura hopes the right-hander will return when the White Sox host Oakland.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said INF-OF Mike Aviles (concussion) was feeling better and will resume baseball activities when he passes protocol tests. Aviles sustained the concussion trying to make a diving catch in right field Monday.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (6-4) is 3-0 in five starts since rejoining the rotation last month.
GOING AWAY GIFT
The Indians presented White Sox 1B Paul Konerko with a guitar, adorned with his No. 14 and the White Sox logo, in a pregame ceremony. He has 48 homers and 177 RBIs lifetime against Cleveland, the active leader in both categories. Konerko, who will retire at the end of the season, is sidelined with a broken left hand but says he will play again before the month ends.
NO DAY OF REST
The Indians host the Angels on Monday in the makeup game of a July 18 rainout at Progressive Field. Losing the off-day means the Indians will play 30 consecutive days.