- Associated Press - Sunday, July 6, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - Terry Francona heard the boos from the home crowd, and the Cleveland Indians manager didn’t mind one bit.

Francona pulled Corey Kluber two outs short of a complete game in Cleveland’s 4-1 win over Kansas City on Sunday. The crowd of 16,991 wanted to see Kluber, who allowed four hits and struck out 10 in 8 1-3 innings, finish the game, and the fans let Francona know they didn’t agree with his decision.

“I don’t blame them,” Francona said. “If I was managing with my heart, I’d have left him in there, too.”

Kluber (8-6) took a three-hitter into the ninth before Eric Hosmer started the inning with a double. The right-hander, who gave up a solo homer to Mike Moustakas in the fifth, was removed after striking out Salvador Perez.

Kluber also heard the boos and used the opportunity to take a good-natured jab at his manager.

“Kip (second baseman Jason Kipnis) was giving him a hard time, too,” he said. “It was pretty funny, I guess.”

Cody Allen recorded the final two outs for his ninth save, and Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes homered in a three-run second inning.

Kluber, who walked one, retired the first seven hitters before Jarrod Dyson’s infield single with one out in the third. Lorenzo Cain also had an infield hit in the sixth.

Kluber has been Cleveland’s ace all season. He has four double-figure strikeout games.

“It sure is nice, man, to write his name in there,” Francona said. “He has weapons, he has poise, and he competes.” Francona said.

Kluber is working to stay on an even keel throughout the season.

“I’m trying to be as consistent as I can from start to start,” Kluber said. “I try to avoid the downs as much as possible and keep the good stuff rolling.”

Kluber rarely shows any emotion on the mound, but Francona thinks appearances can be misleading.

“He’s very locked in,” Francona said. “Maybe his demeanor belies the real fire that’s in there. He gets after it.”

Even Moustakas, who walked in the seventh and is 7 for 18 against Kluber, was impressed.

Story Continues →