- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Corey Kluber pretty much picked up right where he left off in his Cy Young season. That still wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Indians.

Kluber didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, but the Indians were outdone Monday night by Dallas Keuchel and timely Houston hitting in a 2-0 win by the Astros.

“A lot of nights, we’d be sitting here saying: ‘He had a great game that was a win,’” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “But their guy was good, too. There wasn’t a whole lot of offense going on.”

Keuchel and two relievers combined on a three-hitter.

“I don’t think it’s any more satisfying to pitch well and lose than to not pitch well and lose,” Kluber said. “It’d be satisfying if we were 1-0 instead of 0-1.”

George Springer and Jake Marisnick each drove in a run for the Astros. Making his first opening-day start, Keuchel (1-0) allowed three hits and struck out four in seven innings.

Tony Sipp threw a perfect eighth and new closer Luke Gregerson worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.

Kluber (0-1) didn’t allow a hit until Jose Altuve’s soft single dropped in front of Michael Bourn in center field with two outs in the sixth.

“I made a pretty good pitch, but he’s got good hands and good bat control, and he dumped one in there,” Kluber said.

Altuve stole second and scored on a single by Springer, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Kluber yielded three hits and two runs with seven strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings a day after agreeing to a five-year, $38.5 million contract.

Jed Lowrie drew a one-out walk in the eighth before a single by Colby Rasmus chased Kluber. He was replaced by Scott Atchison, and Marisnick’s sacrifice fly scored Lowrie to push the lead to 2-0.

Kluber retired his first seven batters before walking Rasmus with one out in the third. But the right-hander got back on track quickly, setting down the next two Astros to end the inning.

He threw a perfect fourth with two strikeouts before Chris Carter came close to knocking one out of the park to start the fifth inning. Brandon Moss grabbed the long fly on the warning track in front of the bullpen.

Keuchel also retired the first seven he faced, including striking out the side in the second.

“He did a really good job of locating strike one and throwing that breaking ball,” Francona said. “Some of them had a really hard time laying off. And once we had a hard time laying off, he’d come back with a fastball and get it by us.”

Lonnie Chisenhall singled with one out in the third. Keuchel walked one in the fourth and two in the fifth, but didn’t allow another hit until back-to-back singles by Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes to start the seventh.

The left-hander escaped the jam by retiring the next three batters to end the threat and his night.


Indians: OF Nick Swisher, on the 15-day DL, was with the Indians in Houston for opening day but will leave Tuesday to continue rehabilitation from surgery on both knees. Francona is encouraged by the progress of the 34-year-old and said Swisher is “doing pretty well.”

Astros: Houston pitchers Brad Peacock, Josh Fields and Brett Oberholtzer started the season on the disabled list, but are making progress in their recoveries.


Although it’s a very small sample size, the Indians’ struggles against Keuchel and fellow left-hander Sipp seemed reminiscent of their 2014 hitting.

Cleveland went 3 for 26 against Houston’s lefties, leading to questions about if last season’s struggles were carrying over into 2015. The Indians ranked 19th in the majors in batting average against lefties in 2014 (.252) and 10th against right-handers (.254).

“We’re one game into the season, but we’re going to have to work at it,” Francona said. “If I was a team, I’d throw lefty, too.”


Both teams are off Tuesday before Houston’s Scott Feldman opposes Carlos Carrasco on Wednesday. Carrasco has been great in three games, with two starts, in his career against Houston, going 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 21 strikeouts.

Feldman had a 3.74 ERA last year in his first season with the Astros.



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