CHICAGO -- When the Cleveland Indians ran out starting pitcher Corey Kluber to start Game 4 of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Saturday night, they expected their ace to be effective, even if he was going with one less day of rest than normal.
And what the Indians got was Kluber finding a way to spread out five hits and one walk with just one earned run allowed in six innings of work in a 7-2 win for the Indians, which put the team in a position to go for the championship-clinching victory tonight.
“Kluber was tremendous,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I thought he had to work early. He didn’t have his best breaking ball. I thought later in the game, he sort of defined it actually. In a perfect world, we wanted to keep him around 80. We were fortunate enough to be able to do that, but I think he’s proving over and over just how good he is.”
After getting shut out by Kluber in Game 1, the Cubs went right to work against Cleveland’s front-line starter and likely American League Cy Young candidate as lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler flared an opposite-field double to left.
Two batters later, first baseman Anthony Rizzo smacked a single to right-center field and drove in the first run of the game. However, Kluber settled into a rhythm after the early hiccup and never let the Cubs get rolling again.
“I think our guys have done terrific,” Francona said of the staff. “I think the people that are surprised don’t know our pitchers very well. We’re proud of them, and we have a ways to go. We’re not done, but they’ve done terrific. We still have work to do, but there was a reason they’re pitching.”
Including the Game 4 start, Kluber has allowed just three earned runs over 30.1 innings of work in five postseason appearances. Kluber has registered 35 strikeouts against eight walks and stands to start Game 7 at Progressive Field if necessary.
At the plate, Kluber went one for two with a single that turned into an Indians run thanks to a throwing error on Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in the top of the second inning.
“What I care about is us finding ways to win, and I know that when he pitches, we feel really good,” Francona said. “He works so hard to be good. It’s nice to see him be rewarded for it.”