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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | December 16, 2017

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Kluber and Aviles Shine While Tribe Earns Split; Indians 10, Royals 3

Kluber and Aviles Shine While Tribe Earns Split; Indians 10, Royals 3

| On 28, Apr 2013

What a difference a year can make.

A year ago Corey Kluber made his first big league start, allowing six runs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals. This year, making his first start of the season Kluber gave the Indians a much needed split of their Sunday doubleheader. His pitching, plus the offensive production of Mike Aviles, gave the Indians a 10-3 victory.

The Indians were able to jump on top right away due to a Kansas City miscue. Michael Brantley led off the game with a single to center field. Once Asdrubal Cabrera struck out, Nick Swisher grounded to third baseman Mike Moustakas. However, Moustakas’ throw was wide of the second base bag and what could have been an inning-ending double play instead put runners on first and second with just one out.

Mark Reynolds singled to load the bases before Carlos Santana laced a 3-2 pitch up the middle to score Brantley and give the Indians a 1-0 lead. Mike Aviles grounded to first baseman Eric Hosmer, but when they could only force out Santana at second, Swisher was able to score and give the Indians a 2-0 lead after just a half inning of play.

Aviles would help the Indians add to their lead in the top of the third inning. Cabrera started the inning with a single, but Swisher flied to right field and Reynolds struck out leaving no signs of a threat, but Santana singled to center field before Aviles hit a three-run home run to left field to give the Indians a 5-0 lead after three innings.

Cleveland tacked on another run in the fourth inning when Yan Gomes tripled to right field and scored on Drew Stubbs’ sacrifice fly, giving the Tribe a 6-0 lead.

Meanwhile Kluber (2-0) gave the Indians a quality start. Kansas City was able to crack the scoreboard in bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Jeff Francoeur reached on an infield single before George Kottaras doubled to put runners on second and third with two outs. Chris Getz made it three straight hits when he laced a single to center field to cut the lead to 6-2 Indians.

Kansas City relieved Smith (0-1) after just four innings, replacing him with Bruce Chen. Smith survived only four innings, allowing seven hits, six runs—four earned runs—while walking one and striking out five.

Cleveland blew the game open in the seventh inning with the aid of more Kansas City miscues. Swisher led off the inning with a foul ball down the first base line that Hosmer was unable to catch, allowing the at bat to continue. He promptly singled to right field, followed by singles from Reynolds and Santana to load the bases. Santana had four hits in the game, raising his season batting average to .388.

Aviles then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Swisher, making it 7-2. It was a career night for Aviles, carding his first five-RBI game as a big leaguer. Reynolds was able to score on a throwing error by Getz to make the score 8-2.

Chen was chased from the game after three innings, allowing two runs on three hits, but not allowing an earned run and struck out four. He was relieved in the eighth inning by J.C. Gutierrez, who received the same defensive help that Chen was forced to endure.

With one out in the eighth inning, Brantley reached on an infield single before Cabrera flew to deep right field on a ball that Francoeur could have caught, but seemed to lose in the light. Cabrera was given credit for a triple, scoring Brantley and Swisher’s sacrifice fly chased home Cabrera to make the score 10-2.

Kluber’s night would be complete after seven strong innings—likely his best outing as a big leaguer. He pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out six and walking no one.

Vinnie Pestano relieved Kluber, loading the bases with no one out before allowing a sacrifice fly and doubling up Hosmer when he tried to advance to second base on the fly ball. His base running miscue helped Pestano minimize the damage at just a run, making the game 10-3.

Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth inning—his first appearance in six days—to give the Indians their doubleheader split.

Cleveland will try to salvage a split of the four game series on Monday when Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2, 10.06 ERA) will take the mound for the Tribe against the Royals, Wade Davis (2-1, 3.20 ERA). The game is set for 8:10 p.m. from Kauffman Stadium.

Photo: Reed Hoffmann/AP Photo