'Cy Kluber' dominates again in 1-0 victory over Rays
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Corey Kluber struck out 11 in eight innings, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Friday night to stay in the race for a playoff spot.
Kluber (18-9) allowed five hits and walked two in his final start of the season, bolstering his case for the AL Cy Young Award. The right-hander, who is tied for the AL lead in wins, recorded his 11th double-digit strikeout game of the season and leads the majors with 269 strikeouts.
Kluber is 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA in his last five starts. Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save.
Cleveland moved within 2 1/2 games of Oakland, which played at Texas on Friday night and is in the lead for the second wild card in the American League. Cleveland must win its final two games and hope Oakland loses its remaining three to tie the Athletics.
Jose Ramirez homered in the first for the game's only run.
Chris Archer (10-9) pitched 7 2-3 innings of three-hit ball for the Rays. The right-hander went 1-1 with a sparkling 0.86 ERA in his final three starts of the year.
The race for the AL Cy Young Award appears to be down to Kluber and Seattle's Felix Hernandez. The Mariners ace, who was roughed up in his last outing, is expected to start Sunday.
Kluber's biggest jam came in the seventh. Matt Joyce reached on a one-out single and Kevin Kiermaier drew a four-pitch walk with two away. Kluber struck out Ryan Hanigan looking on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
Kluber finished with a flourish, striking out David DeJesus and Evan Longoria to end the eighth.
Kluber struck out the side in the first and also fanned two in the third and fifth. James Loney led off the second with a single, but Nick Franklin bounced into a double play. After Matt Joyce walked, Brandon Guyer struck out.
Loney singled with two out in the fourth, but Franklin grounded out. Kiermaier tripled with two down in the fifth, but Hanigan fouled out to first baseman Carlos Santana, who tumbled to the ground while making the catch.
The Indians scored 19 runs in Kluber's previous three starts, but struggled again with their ace on the mound. Cleveland averaged just 1.1 runs in his nine losses.
Kluber had recorded 14 strikeouts in each of his past two starts, becoming the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2004 to have consecutive 14-strikeout games.
Archer's only mistake cost him the game. He struck out six and walked two.