Kluber dominates in Indians win
CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber pitched a three-hitter for his first shutout this season and new arrival Leonys Martin homered again for Cleveland, leading the Indians to a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
Kluber (14-6) matched zeros for five innings with Felix Pena (1-3), who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Martin hit a leadoff homer. Martin has two homers in just three games since coming to Cleveland in a trade with Detroit.
It was the seventh career shutout for Kluber, and the performance eased any concerns the Indians had about the two-time Cy Young Award winner. Kluber had lost two of his three previous starts and he received an injection in his right knee before the All-Star break. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out seven.
The AL Central-leading Indians only got four hits but notched their 60th win.
The Angels were again without All-Star outfielder Mike Trout, who missed his third straight game with a sore right wrist.
But even with Trout in the lineup, Los Angeles would have had a tough time against Kluber. The right-hander got stronger as the game went on, and he cooled off Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, who homered twice in Friday’s win.
Ohtani came in batting .643 with four homers and eight RBIs in three games against Cleveland, but went 0 for 4 and struck out twice against Kluber.
Pena didn’t get out of the first inning in his previous outing, and the right-hander started poorly, walking the first two batters. However, Pena settled in and didn’t give up his first hit until the sixth, when Martin drove a 3-1 pitch 415 feet to right-center.
Moments before Martin connected for his second homer in two days, the Indians attempted to jinx Pena by displaying — “Felix Pena is currently throwing a no-hitter” — on Progressive Field’s enormous scoreboard.
The strategy worked as Martin ended Pena’s flirtation with history. The Indians added a second run when Francisco Lindor followed with a double and scored on Michael Brantley’s single.
Cleveland scored another run in a messy seventh inning that included two walks, a sacrifice, wild pitch and passed ball.
Before the game, Indians manager Terry Francona said his pitchers have followed the game plan against Ohtani — with poor results.
“We know what we want to do,” he said. “We’ve just got to do it better.”
Kluber was more than up for the challenge. He struck out the two-way star looking in the first, and then with runners at first and third in the third, Kluber got the left-hander to hit a routine groundout. Ohtani struck out again in the sixth and flied to right in the ninth.
Ohtani showed off his power to all fields in Friday’s game, homering to right and left against Mike Clevinger.
Although Ohtani doesn’t have a typical slugger’s swing, Francona says he’s got plenty of pop.