SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Corey Kluber was solid for seven innings as the Indians finished up Cactus League play on Thursday with a 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.
Kluber, who will be the starter on Tuesday against Oakland, allowed only two hits through six before the Diamondbacks got to the right-hander in the seventh, scoring a pair of runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out seven.
Thursday’s outing was more encouraging
"It seems like every outing he goes one more inning deeper. That’s a normal progression of a good pitcher and the good news for us today is he got to the seventh," manager Terry Francona said. "He just needs to get enough reps where the game dictates him coming out. He’s building into that."
Last Saturday against Colorado, Kluber pitched shutout ball on three hits for the first four innings before allowing seven runs and eight hits the final two frames.
Jason Kipnis and Nyjer Morgan each had two hits and drove in a run while David Murphy had an RBI double in the fourth. Michael Brantley and Mike Aviles were originally in the lineup but Francona decided to give Brantley the day off and Aviles was held out due to lower back soreness. Matt Carson, who took Aviles’ place, also had a double. Francona said after the game that Brantley and Aviles should be ready for Monday’s opener.
The Tribe are 19-8-2, which leads the Cactus League, but Francona did not put much stock in the record.
"The records a lot of times if you have either guys competing for jobs or some younger guys who have a good showing who are ready to play that kind of helps your record because they are playing at the end of games," he said. "It means that we’ve played pretty good baseball which I love."
After the game, the Indians departed for San Diego, where they will face the Padres at the University of San Diego on Friday and Saturday.