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Corey Kluber melts down late as Indians fall to Rangers again

The Tribe ace couldn't survive a 7th-inning onslaught, and the offense couldn't complete the comeback

MLB: Texas Rangers at Cleveland Indians
Too little, too late, Tito
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 7, Indians 3

Box score

Indians fall to 26-24


I have to apologize here at the outset - I got stuck at work late working on an exceedingly painful project, and I was only able to catch the last inning and a half of tonight's game live. Staring at the same spreadsheet for eight hours straight while working through a migraine is not fun. But the tiny bit of the game I did see, it seems like I was probably better off missing the first seven innings.

Corey Kluber was not at his sharpest today, but he seemed to do pretty well through most of the evening. Muddling along, Kluber gave up a 2nd inning homer to Brian Holaday and a 5th inning homer to Jurickson Profar to allow the Rangers a 3-0 advantage, but he mostly held things together until the 7th.

The Indians, meanwhile, had nothing going against rangers starter Colby Lewis through six innings. They managed just two hits off the big righty, and never advanced past 2nd base. Strangely, though, Lewis would not come back to pitch the bottom of the 7th despite having thrown only 99 pitches, so the Indians got to work quickly on the Ranger bullpen. A Jose Ramirez single and a Lonnie Chisenhall homer put the Tribe rght back in it, and had the offense looking poised for a much-neeeded late-inning comeback. Unfortunately, Kluber and Bryan Shaw made sure that wouldn't happen.

Klubot looked done the second the 8th inning started, giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Why Terry Francona left him in, I can't say, but the next at-bat would be the last straw. Ian Desmond shot a double off the base of the RF wall, driving in two and finally getting the hook for Kluber. Shaw came in to pour fuel on the dumpster fire, giving up an RBI double to Adrian Beltre before eventually working his way out of the inning. Nonetheless, all six runs were charged to Kluber, matching his previous worst outing this season. It was a frustrating outing after back-to-back great starts from Kluber, but we're left hoping that *this* one was the anomaly, and not the previous two.

After the Rangers added an insurance run in the top of the 9th, the Indians feigned a comeback. Stringing togetehr three straight one-out singles, they inched the score to 7-3 and brought the tying run to the on-deck circle before weakly succumbing to inevitability.

With that loss, the Indians move another half game back of KC, whose game is still ongoing at the time of this recap. The Royals, of course, come to town Thursday for a crucial three-game set, but the Indians still have one more to play against Texas in a series they've already lost. Depressing stuff, friends. Let's hope for better in the coming days.