It was business as usual for Corey Kluber, but the Cleveland Indians actually got the bats going against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
It was a relatively stress-free night at Progressive Field on Friday as the Cleveland Indians dispatched the Seattle Mariners by a misleading score of 6-5.
The game was never as competitive as the final score might indicate, and if not for a blown third strike call with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Corey Kluber would have recorded his second complete game of the season en route to a 6-2 victory.
All wins count the same, however, inconsistent umpiring notwithstanding. Here is a quick rundown of what you missed if you couldn’t catch the Friday night contest.
The Indians relied once again on the long ball for offense, tattooing Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez to the tune of five solo home runs. Francisco Lindor led the game off with the first one after an impressive eight-pitch at-bat. Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion followed that up with back-to-back bombs of their own later in the inning to put the Tribe up 3-0.
Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes would later join the party in the sixth inning, also going back-to-back. As it turned out, the Indians needed all five homers–and a sacrifice fly from Brantley–to take down the Mariners.
Other kinds of hits too!
Home runs may have been the difference on the scoreboard, but for once they weren’t the only story to tell about the Indians offense.
Cleveland broke out for 13 hits against Mariners pitching, with Jose Ramirez (surprisingly) being the only player not to record one. Among those 13 hits were four doubles (Lindor, Tyler Naquin, Jason Kipnis, Bradley Zimmer) and a triple (Brantley).
If there is a feel-good story in the Indians clubhouse through the first month of the season, it might well be Naquin. He is batting just below .300 and making the best of the opportunity afforded to him by Lonnie Chisenhall‘s injury. After last year’s struggles, Naquin’s 2018 start is a sight for sore eyes. It would be nice to see him continue to build on his early success and stick with the club for the duration of the season.
Perhaps the Tribe’s 13-hit performance can serve as a catapult into the warm weather of May, and the team can put their offensive shortcomings in the rear view.
Another day at the office for the ace
Corey Kluber exhibited some rarely-seen emotion on the mound after being denied a well-earned strikeout of Kyle Seager in the bottom of the ninth inning that would have ended the game.
His performance until that point, however, was anything but rare. He struck out 10 Seattle hitters and even on a night in which he issued an uncharacteristic three walks, was still in line for a complete game. His final line for the night was 8.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 ER, 10 K.
Kluber gave up a two-run homer to Mitch Haniger in the seventh inning, but as far as Indians fans are concerned, that third one can be charged to the home plate umpire.
The Indians and Mariners will reconvene at Progressive Field at 4:10 on Saturday afternoon for the third game of a four-game series.