Kluber pushes pitch count vs. D-backs to gain strength

Indians' Opening Day starter gives up one run in six innings

Kluber pushes pitch count vs. D-backs to gain strength

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In a game befitting a matchup of a pair of Opening Day starters, the Indians and D-backs played a low-scoring game with Arizona winning 3-2 at Salt River Fields.

The D-backs scored twice in the bottom of the eighth on a Jake Lamb double that plated Tom Belza and a Blake Lalli sacrifice fly that scored David Peralta to take a lead that would stand.

Josh Collmenter started for the D-backs and allowed just three hits over seven innings. In 13 Cactus League innings this spring, Collmenter has not allowed an earned run. The right-hander has also appeared in a Minor League game in which he tossed three shutout innings and a "B" game against the Reds in which he allowed one run in three innings.

"He looked good," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of Collmenter. "I thought Kluber was really good, too."

"When you face these good ones, you really evaluate your players," Hale said of his hitters going up against Corey Kluber.

Kluber, the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner, lasted six-plus innings and allowed six hits and walked a pair while striking nine.

"I felt good," Kluber said. "I feel like I'm getting stronger each time out. I was able to get the pitch count up to where I wanted to today. For the most part, I executed pretty well."

Kluber threw 107 pitches, 74 for strikes, before being pulled with no outs in the seventh inning after giving a leadoff single and a walk.

"He wanted to get out there pretty good," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber's high pitch count. "So, the next outing, if he wanted, if he feels like scaling it back, he can. But, he feels like he's ready. I thought he did a really good job. He's in such good shape. Most guys, when they get out to that point, they're kind of pushing to get through it. He's strong."

The D-backs got on the board early thanks to a pair of first-inning doubles.

With one out in the first, Chris Owings doubled to right and after Kluber struck out Paul Goldschmidt, Peralta doubled to left to bring home Owings.

The Indians tied it at 1 in the top of the eighth on a line-drive double by Ryan Rohlinger that scored Roberto Perez from first base. They added another run in the ninth on a Jesus Aguilar sacrifice fly that scored Ivan Castillo before the D-backs' Addison Reed closed out the game.

Up next for the Indians: Right-hander Zach McAllister -- one of three remaining candidates for the two available spots in the rotation -- will continue his audition on Saturday when the Indians head to Maryvale for a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League tilt against the Brewers. Lineup regulars Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez are also slated to make the trip. The game will be available live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.