Allen puts finishing touch on Kluber's victory
CLEVELAND -- Cody Allen emerged from the bullpen on Wednesday night and was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Indians faithful. With each step the Tribe's closer took, the discontent grew louder inside Progressive Field.
The Cleveland crowd wanted more of Corey Kluber and Allen was understanding.
"I thought they were just saying 'Kluuuuubes,'" Allen joked. "I was laughing there. If I was in the stands tonight, I probably would've been booing, too."
During the Indians' 2-0 win over the Cardinals, Kluber struck out 18 batters to match Bob Feller's 1938 franchise record for the most punchouts in a nine-inning game. Kluber did so in only eight innings, joining Randy Johnson (1992) as the only pitchers in Major League history to record at least that many in fewer than nine frames.
Nineteen strikeouts has only been achieved 15 times in baseball history. Twenty strikeouts has only been accomplished four times (Randy Johnson in 2001; Kery Wood in '98; and Roger Clemens in '96 and '86). No pitcher in baseball's long, storied annals has managed 21 strikeouts in a nine-inning game.
Kluber had the chance to reach those heights in the ninth inning. With Kluber's pitch count sitting at 113, though, bench coach Brad Mills -- filling in for ejected manager Terry Francona -- opted to turn to Allen.
Francona agreed with the decision.
"Millsy knows wat he's doing," Francona said. "You can't manage with your heart. If you leave Kluber out there and he starts to run into a little bit of a mess, now he's up in the 120's and now you bring in Cody and you've got traffic. You can't manage with your heart. That was a good move."
Allen was asked if he felt like declining to pitch when the bullpen phone rang.
"Part of me yes, part of me no," Allen said with a smile. "[Kluber] was unbelievable."
Allen set down the Cardinals in order in the ninth inning and added a 19th strikeout to Cleveland's overall pitching line. He was thrilled that he was able to finish what Kluber started.
"We definitely wanted to get Kluber a win, especially with him pitching the way he did," Allen said. "You don't want to be that guy in the ninth inning who comes in there and screws it up."