In the biggest game of his career, the ace of the Indians pitching staff went seven scoreless innings at Progressive Field on Friday afternoon, and the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-0. The Tribe now holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS. The teams are idle tomorrow, and will play Game 3 at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Indians need only one more victory over Boston to advance to the ALCS. The Red Sox must win three straight in order to get there.
The Tribe scored all the runs they would need in the second inning. Boston starter David Price gave up three consecutive one-out singles to account for the first run. The next batter, Lonnie Chisenhall, smacked a three-run homer over the right-field wall to put the Indians up, 4-0. They went on to pad the score with single runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Price, who was tagged with the loss, left the game in the fourth inning. He is now 2-8 in postseason play.
Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw pitched scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively. After having used Andrew Miller and Cody Allen on Thursday, Indians manager Terry Francona had hoped Kluber could pitch deep into the game. His having done so made Francona’s Thursday strategy pay off in a big way.
Sunday’s game will feature Josh Tomlin against Clay Buchholz. Should Tomlin falter early on, Francona surely won’t hesitate to take him out and hope that Miller and Allen, each with two day’s rest, can pick up the slack.
Cleveland sports fans know quite well that having a two-game lead in a best of five series is no guarantee of eventual victory. No one is opening any bottles of champagne just yet. But nobody can deny that things look pretty good right now for Cleveland’s favorite squadron.