Welcome back, Corey Kluber. It’s good to see you again.
After seven winless starts to open the season, the Kluber of 2014, the Cy Young award-winning Kluber, took the mound on Wednesday evening and turned in the pitching performance of the season, perhaps the pitching performance of his career. All he did was strike out 18 Cardinals over eight innings, tying an Indians record set by Bob Feller in 1938. Kluber didn’t walk a batter, although he did plunk Matt Holliday on the elbow with an errant fastball in the top of the first inning. And oh yeah, Kluber took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, when former Indian Jhonny Peralta singled with two out to spoil the dream. The Indians went on to win the game, 2-0.
Here are the lines for the Indians pitchers for Wednesday’s game:
It wasn’t nearly as epic as what Kluber did, but Indians fans have got to be happy about Cody Allen‘s work in the ninth to save the game for Kluber. Allen made quick work of the three batters he faced, adding a strikeout of his own to bring the total to 19 for the night. It was Allen’s fifth save of the season and his first since April 29. The Indians need strong pitching performances from both Kluber and Allen if they hope to turn this misbegotten season around. And while no one can realistically expect Kluber to pitch like Superman every time out, it’a not expecting too much to ask Allen to save games when called upon to do so.
The Indians scored twice in the first to account for the game’s only runs. Cards starter John Lackey issued two walks and gave up two singles. The Indians left 13 men on base, so they certainly had plenty of opportunities to add to that modest run total
If the Indians had scored more runs, perhaps they’d have let Kluber try for the complete game. Striking out the side in the ninth would have given him 21 strikeouts, breaking the major league record of 20 in a 9-inning game, a feat done by Kerry Wood and by Roger Clemens, who did it twice. But no one can fault Tribe manager Terry Francona for turning the game over to his closer. Fortunately it all worked out according to plan.
The rubber game of the series will be played on Thursday afternoon. An Indians victory would give the team their first back-to-back victories and their first series win since the first week of the season. Trevor Bauer and Michael Wacha will be the starting pitchers.