CLEVELAND -- Indians ace Corey Kluber continued his recent dominance, outdueling left-hander Jose Quintana to lift the Tribe past the White Sox, 3-1, on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. First-place Cleveland has now won seven straight games over Chicago. In all seven games, the White Sox have scored three runs or fewer.
With the win and a Tigers loss, the Indians increased their American League Central lead to six games.
Kluber dealt with baserunners all night, but still spun six innings of one-run ball to win his fourth consecutive start. The right-hander's lone mistake was a solo shot from White Sox slugger Justin Morneau, which came in the sixth. Kluber struck out seven while walking two and has now posted a 1.65 ERA over his last seven turns. Andrew Miller tossed two perfect innings of relief, before Cody Allen nailed down his 23rd save.
"The ball is coming out of his hand so crisp," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber. "And they made him work. He had to pitch out of some jams. They got his pitch count up. But, other than he threw two breaking balls in a row to Morneau that he hit for the home run ... he looks like the tank's full, which is really good for us."
"You know he has the movement going in on a lefty, but tonight, the biggest one is he's moving it back over," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's throwing at the front hip, it's coming back on the inner half, and that's the one you freeze for a second and you can't pull the trigger on it. Really good movement. You're seeing a really good matchup with both guys kind of controlling what's going on out there."
Quintana was on the hook for the loss, despite a solid showing. The lefty is still seeking that elusive 10th victory after allowing two runs on seven hits across six frames.
The Indians scored a run off Quintana early, with back-to-back one-out doubles in the first by Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor. Mike Napoli plated the second run off Quintana with an RBI single in the third, extending the longest active hit streak in the Major Leagues to 16 games. Kipnis, who had three hits, added an insurance RBI single in the seventh off Dan Jennings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rajai in a rundown: Tribe outfielder Rajai Davis has been excellent on the basepaths, but his 33rd steal of the season was a gift from the White Sox. After Davis opened the third with a walk, Quintana threw to first to pick him off, and Davis made a desperate scamper toward second. The throw from first to second, however, was off the mark, and Davis was able to veer inside to swipe the base.
He later scored on the RBI single by Napoli, who was caught trying to stretch a single into a double, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
"I'll tell you, he didn't give up," Francona said of Davis. "I thought Nap was elusive, too, it just didn't look the same."
"We didn't help [Quintana] out on the pickoff, he ends up scoring," Ventura said. "That's the frustrating part. Q goes out and does what needs to do, and we can't help him."
Quintana stuck on nine: Quintana arguably has been one of the American League's best starters over the past four years, but he has never recorded more than nine wins in a season. The southpaw is stuck at nine again, with a 9-9 record and 2.85 ERA in 157 2/3 innings to be exact after leaving with a 2-1 deficit. He struck out three and walked two in his first career loss at Progressive Field.
"You try to throw quality pitches and get a lot of ground balls, and it was a tough game," Quintana said. "We played against a pretty good lineup in first place, and you try to make good throws."
Jose's defensive gem: It has become routine for Jose Ramirez to make a superb play since he moved to third base on a regular basis. But his latest may be the best one yet. In the fourth, Ramirez charged a chopper hit by Chicago catcher Omar Narvaez, dove and nearly made the catch before the ball bounced. But he was able to recover and fire the ball to first from one knee for the final out of the inning.
"I don't think he makes those plays before," Francona said. "And I get it, because he's going back and forth. And the brunt of his work was in the outfield, because he hadn't played there. But, now that he's just been there, you can see he's getting his legs under him. His reactions are quicker. The ball has more carry."
Morneau connects: The White Sox made hard contact against Kluber early on with three doubles in the first three innings. But it wasn't until Morneau went deep with one out in the sixth that the White Sox actually scored. It was Morneau's fourth homer this season and the second of his career against Kluber.
"We played a good defensive game ... and we had to. Those are the kind of games where if somebody makes a mistake, you lose." -- Francona
"You're looking at a team that can pitch. They've added some arms as well. Offensively, they just do a lot of different things. They're athletic, you get the switch-hitting aspect of it up and down the lineup, and they become really tough." --- Ventura, on the Indians
WHITE SOX NUMBERS Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to nine straight, batting .324 during that stretch. Melky Cabrera's first-inning double was the 300th of his career.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
To lead off the seventh, Narvaez rolled a chopper to Lindor and was initially ruled safe on the shortstop's nice backhanded play and throw to first. However, Francona elected to challenge the call, and after a review of one minute and 22 seconds, the call was overturned. Miller retired the next two batters to complete a spotless frame on six pitches, maintaining a 2-1 advantage.
"No, when the ball was hit, I thought it was a base hit all the way," Miller said. "I thought it was lucky he got to it and just kind of a waste of energy. That was pretty special." More >
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:Anthony Ranaudo will come up from Triple-A Charlotte to make his second start for the White Sox in Wednesday's 6:10 p.m. CT game against the Indians. Ranaudo will get a somewhat extended rotation shot while Miguel Gonzalez is on the disabled list. Ranaudo pitched well in his White Sox debut at Wrigley Field on July 27, while also hitting an opposite-field home run.
Indians:Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 3.21 ERA) is slated to start for the Tribe on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The big righty has spun consecutive outings of three-run ball, going seven innings in each, after surrendering eight runs in his first August start. Carrasco is 3-8 with a 5.45 ERA in 15 career appearances (14 starts) against the White Sox.