Kluber strikes out 12 as Indians beat Rockies 5-2

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CLEVELAND (AP) - Corey Kluber began the season as one of the question marks in Cleveland’s rotation.

The right-hander ends May as one of the top pitchers in the American League.

Kluber struck out 12 in 7 1-3 innings to continue his dominant pitching in May and the Indians beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Friday night.

“It’s fun to write his name in the lineup every five days,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He continues to get better and better. He’s got power, movement and command. He’s pretty good.”

Kluber (6-3) has been a lot better than pretty good. Other than giving up a two-run homer in the fourth inning to Carlos Gonzalez, he was in complete control of the highest-scoring offense in the NL. He recorded his third double-figure strikeout game this season and ends the month with a 4-0 record and a 2.09 ERA in six starts.

Kluber, who struck out a career-high 13 on May 4 against the Chicago White Sox, finished the month with 60 strikeouts in 43 innings. The right-hander allowed five hits with one walk and was given a standing ovation by the crowd of 25,066 when he was pulled after retiring the first batter in the eighth.

“To do it against that lineup tonight - that’s a very difficult lineup to strike out,” Francona said. “That’s as much, or more impressive as anything, to do it against that team.”

Kluber, who rarely shows any emotion when he’s on the mound, downplayed his accomplishments and says he wasn’t aware that he leads the AL with 95 strikeouts.

“I had no idea, honestly,” he said. “I keep saying when you guys ask me that strikeouts are a by-product of making good pitches. I’m not going out there trying to strike guys out.”

Kluber was given several ovations as his strikeout totals rose, but he remained focused on the task at hand.

“I’m kind of locked in when I’m out there,” he said. “I don’t really notice.”

Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run homer broke a fifth-inning tie. The Indians snapped a four-game losing streak while the Rockies fell to 2-5 on their nine-game trip.

Colorado didn’t have a hit through three innings, but Corey Dickerson led off the fourth with a double and Gonzalez homered to right-center on an 0-1 pitch with one out.

“It was a changeup, belt high down the middle, it wasn’t a good pitch,” Kluber said.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who was ejected in the sixth inning, was impressed.

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