Kluber shakes off rust in loss to Reds

Tribe's Opening Day starter allows three runs in four innings

Kluber shakes off rust in loss to Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One day after being officially named the Indians' Opening Day starter, right-hander Corey Kluber dealt with some Spring Training rust in a 4-0 Reds win Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark.

Todd Frazier and Kristopher Negron each launched a solo home run off Kluber -- the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner -- to power the Reds' early offensive attack. Cincinnati's showing against Kluber helped support a solid effort from Reds starter Mike Leake, who could slot as high as second in the rotation.

"I was rushing to the plate a little bit," Kluber said. "Maybe it was the little extra intensity or whatnot, but I just wasn't quite staying over the rubber and giving myself time to catch up. The last inning, I made that adjustment and obviously the results were there."

Kluber on his start vs. Reds

In the fourth, which was Kluber's final inning, he indeed regained his usual rhythm, setting down the Reds in order with a pair of strikeouts and a flyout. Overall, the leader of Cleveland's rotation allowed three runs on three hits -- all for extra bases -- with four strikeouts, two walks and a wild pitch. After he was done with his four innings, Kluber retreated to the bullpen, where he added another dozen pitches to his workload.

"His velocity was good. He just was not in midseason form -- that'll come," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "As long as he's healthy. Spring Training is different for everybody. Once he gets it locked in, he'll take off. We all know that and I think he knows that."

Frazier got the Reds rolling with a leadoff homer in the second, and Negron followed suit with a leadoff blast in the third, marking the first Cactus League home runs this spring for both players. Skip Schumaker added a one-out triple against Kluber in the third inning and later crossed the plate when one of the righty's pitches skipped away from catcher Yan Gomes.

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For the Reds, Leake turned in four innings, keeping the Indians off the board and allowing only two hits (back-to-back singles to Francisco Lindor and Michael Bourn in the third). The right-hander finished with three strikeouts and one walk, and was pleased that he was able to work his way out of some jams where he was behind in the count.

"Every first pitch was a ball except for one," Leake said, "so at least I got to work behind hitters and get out of bad counts, so that's a positive."

In the fifth inning, Cincinnati padded its early lead after Tribe setup man Bryan Shaw made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to first base, allowing Negron to advance from first to third. The next batter, Billy Hamilton, singled to center for an RBI that pushed the Reds ahead, 4-0.

Up Next: Following Cleveland's scheduled off-day on Wednesday, the Indians will head to Peoria, Ariz., for a 10:05 p.m. ET Cactus League clash with the Mariners on Thursday, live on MLB.TV. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco is slated to work four innings for the Tribe, while relievers Anthony Swarzak, Kyle Crockett, Austin Adams, Nick Hagadone and C.C. Lee are also penciled in to pitch.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.