CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians extended their season-high winning streak to five games on Saturday with a 2-1 win at Progressive Field thanks to a late-inning offensive push led by second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Kipnis started a two-out rally with a single in the sixth and later came around to score the tying run. In the eighth, his opposite-field double drove in the go-ahead run.
Indians ace Corey Kluber struggled out of the gate after one of the most dominant two-start stretches in franchise history. The Reds were aggressive early against Kluber, getting on the board thanks to four hits over the first two innings, all of which came on the first or second pitch of the at-bat. He struck out seven over eight innings, allowing one earned run on nine hits without a walk.
"Early on, I thought he was maybe a little flat and pitches were up," Indians manager Terry Francona said. They were aggressive early and they hit some balls hard, got some hits. And to Kluber's credit, he kind of reeled it in and really got effective ... I think Kluber's kind of in that class where the hitters have to take their pick. Try to maybe get him earlier, because I don't think guys like going up against him with two strikes."
Rookie starter Anthony DeSclafani, on the other hand, rebounded from a stretch of mediocre starts with a strong performance. He struck out six through seven innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks. Up until the Kipnis double with two outs in the sixth, DeSclafani had allowed just two baserunners in the game.
"I thought his fastball had a lot of life to it through the zone and cutting in both directions," Francona said of DeSclafani. "It seemed like even his four-seamer had a little bit of a cutting action to it. Early on he was getting the ball by our left-handed hitter pretty good. Yeah, I thought he threw the ball really well."
Reliever Tony Cingrani struggled in the eighth to give the Indians their first lead of the game, walking catcher Roberto Perez to lead off the inning before serving up the go-ahead hit to Kipnis. The loss extends the Reds' season-high losing streak to seven games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
More than one run needed: The Reds started the second inning against Kluber with Jay Bruce's single and a Brayan Pena double, but the only run that scored was on Zack Cozart's sacrifice fly. Pena was stranded at third with one out when the next two batters were retired. Cincinnati would go 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the game and 1-for-24 over the last four games.
"It was missed opportunities," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I thought we had a really nice approach against Kluber, who we knew was going to be tough. He never gives in. But you know what? You've got to beat good pitchers, too. You can't wait around and beat everybody's fifth starter."
Two-out rally: After being stymied by DeSclafani to begin the game, the Indians finally broke through in the sixth. They had just one hit and two baserunners through the first 5 2/3 innings, but were able to string together a mini-rally with two outs in the sixth. Kipnis doubled, Carlos Santana drew his American League-leading 32nd walk, and David Murphy smacked a single up the middle to tie the game, 1-1.
"We didn't have too many base-runners today, but with a low-scoring game, we knew it would just be the first guy to blink and we wound up big on top tonight," Kipnis said. "We kind of stole this game, but it was a good one to get."
Trading places: A failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Michael Bourn looked like it might halt a potential Indians rally in the eighth inning. Perez walked to lead things off, but was thrown out at second when Bourn's bunt had too much distance on it. Bourn made up for his failure to advance the runner with his speed, though, scoring the go-ahead run from first base on Kipnis' double off the left field wall.
"He did a good job," Francona said of Bourn running the bases. "He got after it in a hurry. A lot of guys probably don't score on that."
Nice defense by Reds: Three exemplary defensive plays helped DeSclafani during his start. In the second inning, first baseman Joey Votto turned a slick double play on Nick Swisher's grounder when he made a sidearm fling to Cozart after touching first base. To end the fifth, center fielder Billy Hamilton made a diving catch to rob Jose Ramirez of a hit. Just when Cleveland threatened to take the lead with two outs in the sixth, Votto leaped high for a catch of Brandon Moss' line drive that saved a run.
"The defense played outstanding," DeSclafani said. "Those were some really huge plays that were game changers. I owe it to them, for sure."
In something you don't see everyday, Reds manager Bryan Price was ejected before Saturday's game got underway. During the lineup card exchange, Price had words with crew chief Jim Reynolds before the umpire tossed him from the game. Bench coach Jay Bell managed in Price's place.
"It's just things left unsaid yesterday that were said today," Price said. More >
When Hamilton was caught stealing second base in the seventh inning, his left arm jammed on the foot of Ramirez. He spent several moments down in pain and was looked over by Bell and the trainer before remaining in the game. Hamilton said he jammed his left shoulder and wrist but expected to play on Sunday.
"Nothing that's going to keep me out of the game," Hamilton said. "I've got to be dying for me not to play. It was just something that hurt for a minute. Once I started moving out there, it started getting a little better. It's still bothering me, but it's not stopping me from playing."
Reds:Raisel Iglesias will make a spot start in place of ace Johnny Cueto when the Reds and Indians finish their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET Sunday. Cueto is out with right elbow stiffness and Iglesias will make his third big league start and first since working eight innings and allowing one run for his first win on May 13 vs. the Braves.
Indians:Trevor Bauer (3-1, 3.31 ERA) takes the hill for the Indians for the long-awaited return of catcher Yan Gomes. Bauer has pitched into the eighth inning in each of his last two starts, allowing just one earned run each time. He's struck out 22 batters in his previous 19 2/3 innings.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.