It’s pretty well known that if the Indians offense provides Corey Kluber with four runs to work with, the Indians are almost guaranteed to win that game. On Monday, the Indians showed the world what happens when they give Kloob three times that many runs. That’s the kind of offensive support that will bring a smile to any pitcher’s face, even one as stoic as Kluber, who responded by throwing a complete game shutout in which he gave up three miserly hits, all singles, while striking out 11 and walking exactly nobody, and the Indians cruised to a 12-0 victory. The win, the sixth straight for the Tribe, gave the Indians a 2½ game lead in the AL Central.
To be sure, it took the Indians a little bit of time to get things going offensively, as Orioles starter Dylan Bundy was sharp over the first three innings. But with one out in the fourth, consecutive doubles from the bats of Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lonnie Chisenhall gave the Tribe a quick 2-0 lead. The rattled Bundy then walked Carlos Santana and hit Yan Gomes with a pitch to load the bases. Bundy struck out Bradley Zimmer, but then gave up yet another double, this time to Austin Jackson, putting the Indians up 4-0.
THe fifth inning saw the Indians batting around the lineup again. Solo homers by Jason Kipnis and Santana padded the lead, and Jackson was so pleased with his fourth-inning, 2-RBI plating double, he hit another one in the fifth. Three more runs followed in the sixth, and the Tribe tacked on one more in the ninth, just to add insult to injury.
As for Kluber, he turned in his best pitching performance of 2017, with a game score of 92. It was his second complete game this season, and his second shutout. Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins, with three, is the only other pitcher in MLB with more. The complete game was a boon to the Indians bullpen, which logged a lot of innings recently.