ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and Indians have each put their Cy Young candidate on display this series. On Friday night, it was Corey Kluber's turn to show why he belongs in the discussion, and he did just that in a 12-1 victory at Globe Life Park.
One night after Texas lefty Cole Hamels dazzled the Tribe, Kluber answered with a strong six-inning performance against the American League West leaders. The righty struck out seven, sidestepped the potential harm of seven baserunners and only flinched once, when Adrian Beltre launched a homer in the sixth.
"He's been doing that. He's a nice guy to have," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Until the solo, he kept them off the scoreboard, which was terrific. It gave us a chance to get some offense going and add on, because we needed that tonight."
Kluber has gone 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA in five August starts and 6-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his past nine turns for the AL Central-leading Indians.
"More than anything, it came down to execution tonight for Martin," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "There were a number of 0-2 hits. I think the lack of execution was the story tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Almonte sparks offense: Leading up to this game, the Indians had scored three runs combined in the first four games of a road trip through Oakland and Texas. With a pair of doubles against the Rangers, Almonte drove in three all by himself on Friday night. The outfielder had an RBI double in the fourth, a two-run double in the sixth and added a run-scoring groundout in the ninth.
"I think I've got a huge responsibility to do my best every day," Almonte said. "When Tito puts me in the lineup, he expects me to try to do my best. This is what I'm trying to do."
Leadoff men left stranded: The Rangers put the leadoff man aboard in each of the first four innings, but were unable to score against Kluber in that span. Their best chance came in the fourth, when Beltre led off with an 11-pitch walk and Rougned Odor followed with a single. Kluber then retired Jonathan Lucroy, Mitch Moreland and Carlos Gomez in order. Kluber held Texas to a 1-for-12 showing with runners on base.
"[Kluber] is one of the best righties in the game," said Carlos Beltran, who's hitless in his last 32 at-bats. "He's tough. He makes quality pitches -- good fastball, good two-seamer. … That's one of the reasons he won the Cy Young a couple of years ago."
Manufacturing runs: Between Sunday and Friday, the Indians' offense endured a 40-inning stretch in which all of their runs (five total) came via home runs. Second baseman Jason Kipnis ended that streak in the third inning, when he slashed a pitch from Perez down the left-field line for an RBI double. That got Cleveland's offense rolling in a 17-hit showing that included no homers.
"It's awesome. I think we got away from doing what we've been doing," Roberto Perez said. "If we get a guy on second base, try to move him over. I think we did that a lot today. We got really good ABs the whole night. That was the difference today." More >
Beltre's blast: Beltre broke up Kluber's shutout with a home run that was projected to travel 456 feet, according to Statcast™. It was Beltre's longest home run in the Statcast™ era, with his previous high being a 445-foot shot on Aug. 8. It was the second night in a row that Beltre homered, and it gave him 1,551 career RBIs, passing Fred McGriff for 38th place on the all-time list.
"He's been hot lately. He's been throwing the ball extremely well. He had every pitch working for him and he was on the edges. Extremely tough tonight, we had very minimal opportunities to score any runs and he shut us down. He showed us why he is an exceptional pitcher." -- Banister, on Kluber
"They had a lot of tough at-bats. They fought off a lot of pitches, made me work. I tried not to get too caught up in it. I tried to keep going out there and execute pitches." -- Kluber
"He's our ace. Every time he steps on the mound, we're really confident that he's going to give us six or seven or eight innings. He came out today, and it was a battle. They put great ABs against him. They fouled off a lot of pitches. That's why his pitch count went up, but he was awesome." -- Roberto Perez, on Kluber
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch twice, giving him a Major League-high 27 HBPs this year. That is the most by an AL hitter since 2002, when David Eckstein was also hit 27 times.
• The six runs allowed were the most for Perez in 14 home starts this season. He gave up 10 hits in the outing, matching a season high.
• The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Cleveland, which is the only Major League team this season to not have a drought of at least four games.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out in the fourth, Carlos Santana tried to score from third base on a chopper to short off the bat of Guyer. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus fired the ball home, where Lucroy applied a high tag as Santana slid in and slapped the plate. Santana was ruled out, but Cleveland challenged the call. After a swift replay review, the out call was confirmed.
Banister looked to extend a fourth-inning rally by challenging an out call on close play at first. With runners on first and second and two outs, Kipnis fielded Carlos Gomez's grounder and made an off-balance throw that short-hopped first baseman Mike Napoli. Gomez was ruled out on the play, and a replay review confirmed that Napoli was able to keep his foot on the bag.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: The Tribe will hand the ball to Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 3.12 ERA) for Saturday's 8:05 p.m. ET clash with Texas. The big right-hander spun eight shutout innings in a road victory over the A's on Monday, continuing his success away from home this year. In 10 road starts, Carrasco has gone 6-3 with a 1.74 ERA, 72 strikeouts and 11 walks in 67 1/3 innings.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin (5-3, 4.68 ERA) is set to start the third of four games against the Indians at 7:05 CT on Saturday at Globe Life Park. Griffin is holding right-handed hitters to a .220 average this season, which is tied for the ninth-lowest in the AL (minimum 170 at-bats).