CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber struck out a season-best 11 batters over eight innings of work and paced the team to an 8-4 win over the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
Kluber tossed just 109 pitches against the Twins, 72 of which were strikes. Despite allowing two home runs, Kluber gave up just six hits and three earned runs with the 11 strikeouts against a pair of walks in the win, his 15th on the season, seventh straight overall and sixth in six August starts.
With the win over the Twins (49-84), the Indians (76-56) maintained their 4.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central Division standings.
Unlike many of his starts early in the season, Kluber got plenty of run support from an offense that has struggled over the last week.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead over the Twins in the bottom of the second inning when outfielder Abraham Almonte doubled to left field and drove in first baseman Mike Napoli, who led off the frame with a single to left-center and moved over to second base when third baseman Jose Ramirez singled to center.
After the Twins tied the game in the top of the third inning, the Indians got a go-ahead run from designated hitter Carlos Santana, who belted a 414-foot home run to center field with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Santana has smacked a career-best 28 home runs this season.
The Indians broke the game open when they plated five runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning.
Catcher Roberto Perez led off the inning with a home run to center field. Then, after second baseman Jason Kipnis and Napoli bookended a single from shortstop Francisco Lindor with walks, the latter of which ran Minnesota starter Pat Dean from the game, Santana delivered an RBI single to right field.
Ramirez followed with a double to right field that plated both Lindor and Napoli, and pinch hitter Lonnie Chisenhall drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Indians scored their eighth and final run of the game when Kipnis drove in center fielder Rajai Davis with a sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the eighth inning. Davis smashed a one-out double to left-center field and stole third base ahead of the sacrifice fly.