CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians entered Monday's game against the Detroit Tigers as one of the hottest teams in baseball after posting a 17-win month of August, but that changed quickly when the Tigers got the bats rolling, early and often.
Starting pitcher Corey Kluber had been solid all season for the Indians (70-65), but lasted just 2.2 innings and allowed five runs and seven hits, including three home runs, as the Tigers (75-62) posted a 12-1 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.
"Klubes could have stayed out there and battled and done just fine, but I think since we were down and there are no days off, now that we're in September, it allowed us to stretch out Zach (McAllister) a little bit and pitch the other two guys," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
"(We) were trying to cover everything, but the most important thing is to allow Klube to come back in five days and not have to work harder than he already has."
Kluber dropped to 13-9 with the loss, and has been winless since the Indians posted a 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 9. In his three starts since the win, Kluber has given up 11 earned runs, eight walks and 22 hits.
"I said it last time, I feel fine," a frustrated Kluber said to the media after the loss. "They're good hitters. If you make mistakes to them, they usually take advantage of it."
Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler got the bats rolling in the top of the first inning when he ripped a triple past Indians right fielder Mike Aviles. Kinsler came around to score when designated hitter Miguel Cabrera belted a two-run home run to the porch in left field.
Before Kluber was out of the game, the Tigers would get to him again in the third inning.
With two men out and nobody on base, Cabrera singled and came in on Victor Martinez's 28th home run of the season. Tigers left fielder J.D. Martinez then went back-to-back, as he took a 94-mile-per-hour sinking fastball over the wall in right field.
In the top of the eighth inning, Cabrera belted a solo home run to right field, and Tigers pinch hitter Tyler Collins crushed a three-run homer into the trees beyond the center-field wall in the ninth.
"The way that he's pitched, you're going to amass innings," Francona said of Kluber's 195.1 innings of work this season. "He's gone deep. This is one of the first times in a while. He's one of the best pitchers in the game. Because of that, on a day like today, you don't make him work harder than he already had. Hopefully, in his next start, it will pay off.
"In his last two starts, he gave up two runs, and the one in Chicago, he was at 118 pitches and then, he gave up a grounder up the middle. If we had scored four or five runs, he'd have been out and everybody would've been saying, 'Wow. What a great game.' I'm not quite seeing what everybody else is."