- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - Corey Kluber’s rocky season continued - thanks, in large part, to the Indians’ struggling offense.

The reigning AL Cy Young winner suffered his fourth straight loss and the Indians dropped a 4-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kluber (3-9) gave up four runs in seven innings, but a lack of run support has been an issue all season. Cleveland’s offense has totaled just six runs for Kluber in his last four starts. The Indians have scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 15 starts.

“When you’re not scoring, it’s hard to win,” Kluber said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to do a better job of not letting the other team score.”

Saturday’s loss was the Indians’ seventh at home in 10 games, as their home record fell to 13-21, the second-worst mark in the majors.

Kluber gave up just four hits, but Tampa Bay jumped out to a lead in the first on Evan Longoria’s three-run homer. Kevin Kiermaier led off with a walk and rookie Joey Butler singled before Longoria sent a pitch onto the left-field porch.

“Obviously, a leadoff walk’s no good,” Kluber said. “Just didn’t really execute the pitch to Longoria. We were trying to go fastball in and it just kind of stayed over the middle.”

Kluber was in a bases-loaded jam in the third inning as well, but got out of it with just one run after Logan Forsythe grounded into a double play to end the threat. After his shaky third, Kluber did not allow another hit, retiring 11 of the last 13 batters he faced.

“Early on, it seemed like he was fighting his mechanics a little bit,” Indians manager Terry Francona. “To his credit, he kind of corrected it, seemed like he kind of all of a sudden started throwing the ball like he can.”

Kluber began the season 0-5. In his last seven starts entering Saturday’s game, he had a 2.25 ERA, but just a 3-3 record to show for it.

“It’s a shame because you think when your ace goes out there, you’re going to win that night,” outfielder David Murphy said. “We obviously haven’t played well behind him as an offense this year.”

Despite the offense’s struggles, Jason Kipnis continued his torrid stretch. The second baseman had two more hits Saturday, extending his overall hit streak to 15 games and his hitting streak at Progressive Field to 24 games. Since May 1, Kipnis is hitting .407 (72-for-177) with four home runs and 20 RBIs.

The Indians had the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings, but came away with only one run. Francisco Lindor grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth, and in the ninth, rookie third baseman Giovanny Urshela represented the winning run at the plate, but struck out looking to end it.

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez left in the fourth inning with a groin injury. Five relievers completed the victory, holding Cleveland to six hits. Xavier Cedeno (1-0) replaced Ramirez and completed the fourth.


Right-hander Shaun Marcum, designated for assignment Thursday, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus.


Rays: LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) will make a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Durham. He made three starts for Single-A Charlotte.

Indians: C Yan Gomes returned to the lineup after not playing Friday because of a stiff neck. He was hitless in three at-bats.


Rays: RHP Alex Colome lasted two innings, the shortest outing of his career, Tuesday against Washington. Tampa Bay has lost each of his last five starts since he beat Oakland on May 21.

Indians: RHP Cody Anderson will make his major league debut against the Rays. Anderson has made 13 starts at Double-Akron and Triple-A Columbus, going 4-3 with a 1.89 ERA.

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