Clevinger (9 K's) continues mastery of Royals
Righty improves to 7-0 all time vs. KC in Tribe's shutout win
KANSAS CITY -- Mike Clevinger rebounded from one of his worst starts by turning in one of his best.
Clevinger was razor sharp on Wednesday night, delivering six scoreless innings in the Indians’ 4-0 shutout of the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Clevinger allowed just four hits and he didn’t walk a batter while striking out nine. That glittering performance came after Clevinger was knocked out early in his previous outing on Friday in Baltimore, when he allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.
“I felt more comfortable with the way my body was moving,” Clevinger said. “The ankle was supporting me and I had confidence in what I was doing. Just really focused on competing again.”
Clevinger’s start in Baltimore was his first after a stint on the injured list due to a sprained left ankle. The execution of pitches wasn’t there against the Orioles, but Clevinger said his bullpen session and other work before Wednesday’s start paid huge dividends.
He is now 7-0 all time against the Royals -- needing just 79 pitches to get through six innings.
“I thought it was by far the best he has been,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He could have kept going, but I thought that was a good spot for him. We didn’t push it too much, and now he can go from there.”
Tribe catcher Roberto Pérez supported Clevinger in a number of ways.
Leading off the third, Perez lined what turned out to be a triple down the right-field line. Although the relay throw beat Perez to the bag at third, he was able to get his left hand to the base before Hunter Dozier applied the tag. Then, when a Danny Duffy pitch got past catcher Martin Maldonado, Perez charged home and avoided a swipe tag by Duffy as the pitcher ran up to cover the plate.
“Both plays, they missed a tag,” Perez said.
Clevinger lauded the ability of Perez to frame pitches.
“He stole me five or six strikes tonight,” Clevinger said.
Carlos Santana warmed up for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby with a solo blast in the fourth. It was Santana’s 19th homer this season and extended his on-base streak to 26 games. Then, Perez capped his big night with a two-run homer in the eighth.
“Getting those extra two runs, what a big difference,” Francona said.
The Indians have bounced back from consecutive 13-0 losses at Baltimore to win three in a row.
“We’ve let that go and bounced back good,” Perez said. “It was great to see Clevinger pitch like he did tonight. He had all his pitches going and it was nice to see him back in his rhythm.”