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Kluber K's a baker's dozen in 5-3 win over Mariners

Despite giving up two homers, Klubot dominated once again. He finally had a little help from his offense - and Lady Luck.

The "Smile" app is new to kOS 15
The "Smile" app is new to kOS 15
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Indians 5, Mariners 3

box score

Indians improve to 22-25



Despite the average-looking final score, there were quite a few oddities in this game. The offense provided Corey Kluber with the most run support they have all year, but they did it largely without hitting balls out of the infield. On the other side of things, Kluber put up a Kluber-esque line of 13 strikeouts, but also got roughed up a bit. When all was said and done, though, he came through still looking like an ace and the Tribe took the first of four from Seattle.

So what more can you say about Corey Kluber at this point? I'm like, super good at words, and I think I was out of superlatives by mid-July 2014. Let's start with the final line: 13 strikeouts in seven innings, with three runs and a walk scattered throughout. Sounds pretty dominant, so why did I say it was a bit of an odd outing? Well, in the midst of those 13 K's, Kluber also gave up two homers - he had only given up four all season so far. He's well-known for throwing a "Maddux" last year, but Kluber just missed throwing a "Salazar" tonight (10 or more K in 6 or fewer IP, with 2 or more HR).

OK, enough of that. Let's get real. Kluber pitched a hell of a game. The home plate umpire was calling the low strike tonight, and Corey took advantage of that by consistently locating his two- and four-seamers to devastating effect. He hung a slider in the 3rd, which Mike Zunino deposited over the left field wall, but he finished the inning with already his fourth strikeout of the game. He cruised the rest of the way, mowing down M after M until the 6th inning, which is where things got a bit rough.

After striking out two to start the inning, Kluber uncharacteristically hit a batter, then gave up a homer to Dustin Ackley on the next at bat. This was nothing but a temporary blip on the radar, fortunately. He finished the 6th with no further damage and, despite a pitch count above 90, came out to strike out the side in the 7th. The last batter he faced was Nelson Cruz, Seattle's hottest hitter, who K'd poetically (his second of the night) to give Kluber a proper sendoff.

Now, in most of Kluber's games so far this season, giving up three runs would have been a death knell. But the offense came through for Klubot tonight, scratching together five runs and getting the W for their ace. Brandon Moss started the scoring with a homer off Seattle starter James Paxton - a lefty! The rest of the Tribe's scoring was pretty low key.

With one out in the fourth, Moss collected another hit - a single. Jose Ramirez reached on what was charitably called a single to the pitcher. Michael Bourn walked to load the bases, and Moss was singled home by Jason Kipnis. The Indians then added two more dinky runs on a Mike Aviles grounder that was missed by two fielders and a Michael Brantley groundout. Up 4-1, the Indians had given Corey Kluber his largest margin of run support all year. The Indians added another dinky run in the 6th after Jose Ramirez doubled, stole third, and rushed home on a Jason Kipnis grounder.

Somewhere in the midst of all this BABIP-y goodness, Paxton left the game in the middle of an at bat with "finger discomfort." On the Tribe side, Scrabble and Cody Allen each pitched a scoreless inning to finish the game.

So in the end, it all worked out. It's strange that giving up three runs seems like a "bad" effort by Kluber, but it's a testament to just how dominant he's been. It came on a good night, as the Indians benefitted from some good luck, small ball, and an unfortunate Seattle injury. Kluber has now struck out 50 batters in his last four games, a feat matched only by Bob Feller in Tribe history.

Win Expectancy Chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call


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