Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber did what he does best against the Chicago White Sox Friday night, and that is frustrate opposing hitters.
Kluber did not need much help from the offense, as he threw a complete-game shutout against the White Sox, and got enough run support for the Indians to earn a 3-0 win over their American League Central Division rivals at Guaranteed Rate Field on the south side of “The Windy City.”
Over nine innings of work, Kluber allowed just three hits and two walks and struck out nine batters with 73 of his 110 pitches finding the strike zone. Kluber is now 2-1 with a 4.28 earned run average over four starts this season.
The Indians took a 1-0 advantage on an errant throw from White Sox starter Jose Quintana in the top of the third inning.
On the first pitch of an at-bat to shortstop Francisco Lindor, Quintana threw a wild pitch that catcher Omar Narvaez could not corral, and that miscue brought around center fielder Austin Jackson.
Jackson began the inning with a double to deep left-center field and moved over to third base when catcher Yan Gomes dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line on the first pitch of his at-bat. Then, first baseman Carlos Santana walked on four pitches before the wild pitch.
The Indians were not done bringing runners across the plate, as they scored two more runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion led off the frame by taking a 3-2 pitch just off the inside corner for ball four. However, Encarnacion was quickly erased when third baseman Jose Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice to shortstop.
Although Ramirez was caught in a rundown while trying to steal second base, returning second baseman Jason Kipnis drew a walk, which starting right fielder Brandon Guyer followed up with a two-run home run to left-center field. On a 1-0 pitch from Quintana, Guyer dropped the barrel of the bat on a pitch over the heart of the plate and drove it over the wall.
The White Sox looked as though they might start a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, left fielder Melky Cabrera tried to stretch a single to the wall in right field into a double, but midway between first base and second, he hesitated, and that allowed reserve outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall to throw to Lindor for the out.
Although Kipnis did not get a hit in his first game of the season, he drew a walk and scored a run. He faced 28 pitches, including the 11-pitch at-bat in the top of the second inning.