CLEVELAND -- Evan Longoria launched three-run home run in the first inning, doing enough damage for the Rays to cruise to a 4-1 win over American League Cy Young Award-winner Corey Kluber and the Indians at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Kluber, who entered the evening with the lowest run-support average (2.33) among qualified Major League starters, received little help from his offense once again. The right-hander was not at his best, tying a career-high with four walks, and allowing four runs on four hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.
"You want to win games," Kluber said. "And when you're not scoring, it's hard to win. At the same time, I've got to do a better job of not letting the other team score."
The bulk of the scoring against Kluber (3-9) came in the first inning, when the Tribe's starter issued a leadoff walk to Kevin Kiermaier, allowed a single to Joey Butler and yielded the homer to Longoria. Tampa Bay (40-30) added some insurance in the third, when Kiermaier singled and later scored on a fielder's choice liner off the bat of David DeJesus.
"We had really good at-bats against Kluber, who is really tough," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought we were patient. We didn't expand. I thought when he was expanding, we didn't chase that much with him."
The Indians (31-36) went silent against Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez and struggled against Tampa Bay's bullpen. Ramirez made an early exit in the fourth due to a groin injury, but the Rays' relief corps picked up the slack, limiting the Indians to just one run in the eighth, despite a pair of bases-loaded jams late in the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Longo blast: Longoria's left wrist has been bothering him, contributing to him hitting just two home runs in his last 37 games, heading into Saturday night. But the Rays slugger got the team off to a good start against Kluber when he hit a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands in the first inning for his seventh homer of the season. The three-run blast staked the Rays to a 3-0 lead. More >
Rally killer: Kluber received some help from his defense in order to calm Tampa Bay's first-inning push. DeJesus followed Longoria's homer with a double, but then tried to sprint to third on a flyout to center. Tribe center fielder Michael Bourn made the catch and made a pinpoint throw to nab DeJesus at third for a double play. Kluber then struck out Steven Souza Jr. to escape further damage in the inning.
Another three outs for Geltz: Rays reliever Steve Geltz retired the Indians in order in the seventh, which means he's retired the past 25 batters he's faced in eight appearances.
Tribe's last chances: The Indians loaded the bases in both the eighth and ninth innings, trying to mount a comeback. In the eighth, the Tribe eked across one run thanks to a fielder's choice groundout from Francisco Lindor. In the ninth, rookie third baseman Giovanny Urshela struck out looking with the bags full against Rays closer Brad Boxberger, who notched his 18th save.
"We had bases loaded twice," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Again, I'd rather have the opportunities, but when you're not getting 10-12 hits a game, those opportunities become glaring."
"Incredible job by the bullpen. Everybody piecing it together. It's amazing what those guys have done those far this season and tonight's another perfect example." -- Cash, on the six-inning effort by the Rays bullpen
"It's a shame, because you think when your ace goes out there, you're going to win that night. We, obviously, haven't played well behind him as an offense this year. There's still plenty of season left, so we can definitely turn that around. There's nothing we can do by focusing on what's happened. It's obviously a coincidence." -- Indians outfielder David Murphy, on Kluber's low run support. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his single in the fourth inning, Kipnis extended his hitting streak to 15 games, marking the longest active streak in the Majors. His hit also extended his Cleveland-record hitting streak at Progressive Field to 24 games. Texas' Elvis Andrus boasts the longest hitting streak in the ballpark's history with a 27-game run from 2009-15.
The Indians' run in the eighth snapped the scoreless streak by the Rays' bullpen on the current road trip at 18 2/3 innings.
ERASMO LEAVES EARLY
Ramirez had to leave the game with a right-groin strain. The right-hander surrendered a leadoff single to Kipnis to start the Indians' fourth then left the mound in obvious discomfort. Ramirez had been pitching well, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out three in three innings. He entered the game on a hot streak, winning six of his previous seven starts. More >
Rays:Alex Colome (3-3, 5.14 ERA) will start for the Rays and try to rebound from a disastrous two-inning outing in his last start. That one saw him throw 43 pitches in the second inning alone, leaving him grasping to find any of his pitches that worked. He said he has addressed a few mechanical issues between starts and should be good to go on Sunday.
Indians: Right-hander Cody Anderson is scheduled to be recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday in order to start against the Rays in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Progressive Field. It will mark the Major League debut for the 24-year-old Anderson, who posted a 1.89 ERA in 71 1/3 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A this season.