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Kluber named AL's top hurler for June

MLB.com

Corey Kluber pitched like an ace for the Indians in June, and he was recognized by Major League Baseball on Monday as the American League Pitcher of the Month.

Kluber made six starts last month and went 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 43 innings. He struck out 64 against seven walks and posted a 0.67 WHIP. The Indians were 4-2 when Kluber took the mound in June.

Corey Kluber pitched like an ace for the Indians in June, and he was recognized by Major League Baseball on Monday as the American League Pitcher of the Month.

Kluber made six starts last month and went 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 43 innings. He struck out 64 against seven walks and posted a 0.67 WHIP. The Indians were 4-2 when Kluber took the mound in June.

"It's pretty impressive. It really is," Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer said. "I've got the best view in the house. I can see location and everything. His slider just disappears, it seems like."

Kluber tossed a shutout against the Orioles on June 19, one of three starts last month in which he did not allow an earned run. He had at least 10 strikeouts in five of his six outings.

After missing nearly all of May with a back injury, Kluber returned with a vengeance in June at a time when the Indians needed it.

"That goes back to his work ethic and the way he works at his craft," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's not just by luck. It's nice, we need it. We've had some ups and downs in our rotation, but he seemed like he's kind of getting on a roll at a really good time for us."

Kluber's huge month also helped him earn his second consecutive American League All-Star selection -- this time courtesy of the Commissioner's Office.

Video: MIN@CLE: Kluber strikes out 13 in seven solid frames

"He literally pitched his way right [onto the roster]," Francona said. "When you miss a month [that's hard to do]. But I think his body of work the over years now [speaks for itself], and the way he's been pitching lately. He's an All-Star."

Also in June, Kluber became the fifth pitcher since 1913 to enjoy a month with 64 or more strikeouts and seven or fewer walks. The others were Clayton Kershaw (May 2016), Pedro Martinez (Sept./Oct. 1999), Mike Scott (Sept./Oct. '86) and Jim Kaat (Sept./Oct. '67).

Kluber joined Sam McDowell (seven times) and Bob Feller (five) as the only pitchers in Indians history with 64 or more strikeouts in one month. Kluber's 43.1-percent strikeout rate is by far the highest of the 13 instances. Second on the list is McDowell's 32.3-percent strikeout rate in May 1965.

In four starts in June, Kluber recorded at least 10 strikeouts and no more than one walk issued. He's done that 21 times in his career with the Indians, by far the most in franchise history. Next on the list is Feller, with eight such outings.

From June 14-29, Kluber became the first pitcher in franchise history to have 10 or more strikeouts in four consecutive starts within one season. Feller also achieved the feat, but did so between the end of 1938 and the start of '39.

With 64 strikeouts in June, Kluber moved into a tie with Luis Tiant for 10th place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,041.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com.

Cleveland Indians, Corey Kluber