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Kluber, Indians defense starve Sox while bats do just enough

The Klubot gave up a handful of hard-hit balls and threw a ton of pitches, but still managed to dominate

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians 3, Chicago White Sox 1

Box score

Indians improve to 68-49


If ever a game said “2016 pitcher’s duel,” Corey Kluber vs. Jose Quintana is it. That’s exactly what we got tonight with the Klubot adding another solid data point to his 2016 Cy Young candidacy and the Tribe offense doing just enough to notch him the W. Add in another sterling bullpen performance and you have a refreshing chaser to the bitter medicine of last night’s loss.

Corey Kluber wasn’t his sharpest tonight. Sure, he notched seven strikeouts and allowed just one earned run, but he “only” managed to last through six innings. Let’s give credit where credit is due to the Sox offense: they made Kluber work early and often, taking him deep into counts and running his pitch count up quickly. He was unable to record a single 1-2-3 inning tonight, though he did face the minimum in the 5th thanks to a double play groundout. He allowed seven hits and walked two, and exited with more than 110 pitches thrown for the evening. But Klubot is Klubot and even on an “off” night, he’s still damn good.

Despite a few hard-hit balls, including the solo home from Justin Morneau of all people, he was able to induce enough weak contact and ground balls to allow his defense a chance to help out. And help they did! In addition to the double play, Frankie Lindor and Jose Ramirez turned in a few pretty nifty plays of their own, including an unbelievable diving stop and throw by Hamster to gun out Omar Narvaez.

On the offensive side of things, Jason Kipnis stayed blistering hot. He got the mojo flowing with a one-out double in the first and was driven in by a Lindor double. Speaking of red hot, Mike Napoli added an RBI single to stake the Tribe to a 2-0 lead in the 3rd. But Morneau’s 6th inning homer put the Sox within one run and with Kluber out, it was up to the ‘pen to hold things down and close out a close win.

Good thing we picked up that Andrew Miller dude. Miller mowed through the top and heart of the Sox order, getting five ground ball outs and a strikeout. The closest he came to looking less than perfect was on his first batter of the night. Omar Narvaez grounded to Lindor deep in the hole at short and appeared to beat the throw, but was ruled out after a replay.

Between Miller’s two dominant innings, the Tribe added an insurance run thanks to an RBI single by Kipnis. They heavily threatened to add more runs in the 7th and 8th but left two men on base to end each inning.

The LOB mattered not, because Cody Allen picked up right where Miller left off. He struck out Todd Frazier (that scrub’s third fourth strikeout of the game) and induced two groundouts to secure the victory.

Elsewhere in pennant race news, Baltimore lost to Boston and Toronto throttled the Yankees, putting the Jays in 1st place in the AL East just ahead of their trip to Progressive Field this weekend. The Rangers are tied 2-2 with the A’s in extra innings at the time of this posting. And most importantly, the temporary-allied Royals stomped a mudhole in the Tigers to help the Indians gain another game in the central. Thanks, kansas City! Now excuse me while I go vomit in happiness.