CLEVELAND -- When the Cleveland Indians finally caught up to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they fell right behind again in an inter-league matchup at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
And that constant game of catch-up proved too much to overcome, as the Dodgers used a late-inning surge to earn a 6-4 victory, which sent the Indians to their third loss in the last four games and ninth setback in 10 games against National League competition this season.
The Dodgers (41-25) initiated the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, and never trailed the Indians (31-31).
Catcher Yasmani Grandal drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position when left fielder Chris Taylor smacked a 1-2 pitch from Indians starter Corey Kluber into left field. After third baseman Logan Forsythe flied out to right field, center fielder Joc Pederson legged out an infield single and brought home Grandal.
Then, on an 0-1 pitch with right fielder Yasiel Puig at the plate, the Dodgers executed a double steal and Taylor scored the second run of the inning.
After failing to score early in the game, the Indians got a run back in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Plugged into the lead-off spot when second baseman Jason Kipnis was scratched because of neck spasms, center fielder Bradley Zimmer smacked a one-out single into center field and moved into scoring position by stealing second base.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor moved him over to third base with a bloop single down the right-field line, and left fielder Michael Brantley brought the Indians’ first run across the plate with an RBI sacrifice fly to right. Zimmer hustled down the line and scored when the throw kicked away from Grandal.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Indians evened the score at 2-2 when third baseman Jose Ramirez hit a line-drive home run just inside of the foul pole in right field. Batting from the left side of the plate, Ramirez hit a hanging breaking ball on a 2-2 count over the wall, but the Dodgers had an answer in the form of a four-run eighth inning.
With left-hander Andrew Miller on in relief of Kluber, pinch hitter Enrique Hernandez belted a 1-2 pitch into the seats in right field for the go-ahead run. It was the first response run given up by Cleveland’s bullpen this season and marked the second time in as many games that Miller allowed a go-ahead home run.
The troubles persisted for Miller, as he gave up an infield single to shortstop Corey Seager and walked designated hitter Justin Turner on just four pitches. Then, first baseman Cody Bellinger drew a walk when he took a 3-2 pitch outside of the zone, which loaded the bases.
Grandal followed with a double-play ball to Lindor at shortstop, but second baseman Erik Gonzalez was off the base on the relay and only got one out at first. Originally, the second-base umpire ruled Bellinger out, but a challenge overturned the call and kept the inning going.
Taylor followed with a two-run single to deep left field off of right-hander Zach McAllister, which brought around Turner and Bellinger.
The Indians got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the eighth inning when Lindor and Brantley hit consecutive doubles and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion followed with a check-swing single to right field that brought in Brantley.
Then, Ramirez smacked a 1-0 pitch from Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez to the wall in right field and slid in under the tag for his 14th double of the season, which moved Encarnacion over to third base and put two runners in scoring position. However, a pop out to left field from Lonnie Chisenhall ended the rally.
Over seven innings of work, Kluber scattered four hits and one walk and struck out 10 batters. With his strikeout of Puig in the top of the fifth inning, Kluber became the fastest pitcher in Indians history and one of the fastest in Major League Baseball annals to record his 1,000th career strikeout.