Tribe skipper pulls ace two outs away from complete game.
Jul 6, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) delivers in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field.
David Richard / USA Today Sports
By Joe Reedy
CLEVELAND -- For one of the few times in his two seasons in Cleveland, Terry Francona was greeted with a cascade of boos when he came to take Corey Kluber out with one out in the ninth inning. Kluber had just whiffed Salvador Perez for his 10th strikeout of the day while holding the Royals to a run on four hits.
But with the right-hander at 109 pitches and the middle of the order due up, Francona went with the matchup instead. Allen ended up getting the last two outs as the Indians took the series with a 4-1 win on Sunday at Progressive Field.
Kluber, who has been a paradigm of unflappable, said he wasn't disappointed in being pulled just two hitters shy of getting his second complete game and that he wasn't going to second guess Francona's decision.
"If they want our guys to stay in there and it's the ninth, that means something good is happening," Francona said. "I don't blame them (for booing). If I was managing with my heart, I would have left him in there too.
"I just think if you're going to have a chance to finish the game I don't want him at 120 and having to execute a pitch. I thought Klubes had something left. He faced Perez and did a good job. After that we thought Cody matched up with the next two guys."
Kluber improved to 8-6 and had lowered his ERA to 2.85 as he got just his second win in his last seven starts. His ERA is eighth in the American League and he is in the top five in strikeouts (137, fourth) and innings pitched (125 2/3, third).
Sunday marked the third game this season where Kluber has struck out 10 or more and walked one or less. The first one came on April 24 when he had no walks and 11 strikeouts in a 5-1 complete-game win over the Royals.
In his last start against the Royals on June 10, Kluber allowed six runs (three earned) in five innings. Kluber said the biggest adjustment this time was to pitch inside since the Royals hit a lot of outside pitches last time.
The only mistake Kluber made was in the fifth, when Mike Moustakas hit a 1-0 cutter to right for a home run. That is Moustakas' fifth homer against the Indians this season with all but one coming in Cleveland.
Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes each had two hits while Gomes and Santana had home runs during the second inning.