CLEVELAND (AP) - For Corey Kluber, it was just another day at the office.
Kluber pitched a three-hitter for his third complete game of the season, leading the Cleveland Indians to an 8-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Kluber didn’t allow a hit until Joe Mauer’s two-out single in the seventh. But the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner said he just followed his regular low-key approach.
“You’re aware of it but I wasn’t out there trying to pitch to not give up a hit, I was trying to get guys out as usual,” he said.
Kluber (7-12) struck out 10 and walked one in his sixth career complete game - all coming in the last two years.
Indians manager Terry Francona admitted he was thinking no-hitter.
“I probably was because we had spread the game out a little bit,” he said. “I would say you could enjoy it more, but I found myself being more nervous, probably for him. But it’s fun to be nervous like that.”
Aaron Hicks hit an RBI double for Minnesota with two out in the ninth, but Mauer bounced to first on Kluber’s 100th pitch for the final out.
Chris Johnson went 4 for 4 with two doubles for Cleveland, and Abraham Almonte homered for the second straight day. Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez each drove in two runs, and Michael Brantley had three hits.
Johnson was acquired in a trade with Atlanta on Friday, and Almonte was called up from the minors Saturday. Almonte connected for a two-run shot in the third, and also took an extra base hit away from Chris Herrmann with a leaping catch at the wall in the ninth.
Kluber retired his first 10 hitters before Hicks drew a one-out walk, but Mauer hit into a double play. The right-hander retired the first two hitters in the seventh before Mauer lined a 1-2 pitch into left field. Kluber received a standing ovation from the crowd of 21,203 after the hit.
“The one I hit was probably the best one I saw all day,” Mauer said. “You can’t miss a pitch like that with a guy like that. He was nasty. There was a reason why he won the Cy Young last year. He looked a lot like that today.”
It was the second time this season that Kluber had a no-hit bid broken up after 6 2-3 innings. It also happened on May 13 against St. Louis.
The Indians, who have struggled offensively for most of the season, had a solid showing at the plate for the third straight day. Cleveland came into the game averaging 3.21 runs in Kluber’s 23 starts, the lowest run support in the AL.
Almonte’s home run was the 28th allowed this season by Phil Hughes, a major league high. Hughes (10-8) allowed seven runs and nine hits in three innings.
The Indians scored 34 runs in the three-game series. It was the second-most scored by any team in a series of any length this season behind the New York Yankees’ four-game series at Texas in July when they outscored the Rangers 35-19.
It also was the most runs scored by a single team in a three-game series since 2012. The White Sox scored 35 runs against the Indians on May 25-27 and San Francisco scored 35 runs against Colorado on Aug. 3-5 of that year.
Twins: LHP Tommy Milone (strained elbow) had a day off in his throwing program. Manager Paul Molitor said Milone should start an extended throwing program this week with a bullpen session possibly Thursday.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis (sore right shoulder) will begin playing catch this week. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 3.
Twins: Minnesota begins a six-game homestand on Tuesday against Texas. RHP Kyle Gibson (8-9, 3.78 ERA) gets the ball for the Twins after he was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings in his previous start Thursday at Toronto.
Indians: Cleveland opens a three-game home series against the Yankees on Tuesday. Carlos Carrasco (11-8, 3.76 ERA), who pitched nine scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Angels in his last outing, starts the opener.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.