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Indians slug 5 HRs to back Kluber's 10-K gem

Lindor, Brantley, Encarnacion go deep in 1st inning
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- The Progressive Field crowd unleashed a chorus of boos when Indians manager Terry Francona emerged from the dugout in the ninth inning Friday night. Corey Kluber sat one out away from a complete game and his audience wanted to see the feat to fruition.

Following the Tribe's 6-5 victory over the Mariners, Kluber smirked when asked if he thought about waving Francona off.

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CLEVELAND -- The Progressive Field crowd unleashed a chorus of boos when Indians manager Terry Francona emerged from the dugout in the ninth inning Friday night. Corey Kluber sat one out away from a complete game and his audience wanted to see the feat to fruition.

Following the Tribe's 6-5 victory over the Mariners, Kluber smirked when asked if he thought about waving Francona off.

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"No," Kluber replied. "I was pretty gassed at that point."

Kluber had done his part, pitching into the ninth and piling up 10 strikeouts in another impressive performance for the reigning American League Cy Young winner. Cleveland's lineup did its part as well, launching a quintet of home runs that not only backed the ace, but withstood a late rally by Seattle.

Video: SEA@CLE: Indians slug three solo home runs in the 1st

After Kluber walked off to a standing ovation from the home faithful, Indians closer Cody Allen flinched, giving up runs for the first time this season. He allowed a double to Mitch Haniger and then a three-run homer to Mike Zunino, but gathered himself and retired Ben Gamel to put the finishing touch on the victory.

It turned out that all five home runs belted by the Tribe were necessary.

"It's kind of funny," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "I think a couple days ago people were saying that we only get our runs off home runs. I'll take five solo shots all day, man. You could say it's our offense warming up. I think we're dangerous at any time. When we start off the game like that, things are bound to go our way."

Video: SEA@CLE: Francona on Kluber, Lindor in win

Francisco Lindor got the Tribe's power display going with a leadoff shot against Seattle righty Erasmo Ramirez in the first inning. Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion later added back-to-back home runs in the frame, representing the first time since 2016 that Cleveland had three homers in a first inning.

Brantley, who finished a double shy of a cycle, chipped in a sacrifice fly in the third to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.

"Brantley, the way he's swinging it lately," Lindor said, "the way he has always swung it, this is extremely important."

Video: SEA@CLE: Brantley laces a triple to left-center

Cleveland's onslaught continued against Ramirez in the sixth inning, when Yonder Alonso and Gomes belted back-to-back homers as well. With their shots, Cleveland had its first game with at least five players going deep since April 30, 2013, against the Phillies, when six players had at least one homer.

Kluber's first misstep arrived in the seventh inning, when he issued a one-out walk to Kyle Seager before surrendering Haniger's ninth home run of the season. Kluber settled back in from there, logging 8 2/3 innings and ending the night with a 2.18 ERA on the season.

The offensive outpouring helped Kluber settle into cruise control for most of the night.

"Obviously, when the first time up the offense puts three on the board," Kluber said, "and they keep adding to it, it definitely makes your job easier. You have a cushion to work with. If you do make a mistake like I did to Haniger, it's not as big a deal when you've got a six-run lead."

With Haniger looming again in the ninth, and Kluber sitting at 116 pitches, Francona chose common sense over heart.

"Of course I wanted to leave him in," Francona said.

Video: SEA@CLE: Allen retires Gamel to seal Indians' 6-5 win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lindor's leadoff shot: During an eight-pitch battle to open the first inning, Lindor saw Ramirez's two-seamer, four-seamer, cutter, changeup and slider. The Indians shortstop ended the at-bat by lifting a 2-2 fastball over right-center field, where it just cleared the wall. The blast, which was Lindor's fifth career leadoff shot, ignited Cleveland's five-homer outburst.

"Ramirez showed me every pitch. Guys benefit from it," Lindor said. "It seems like the more pitches the leadoff guy can see, the better it is for the team. That's why I wanted to do that. I wanted to help my team win, and it was a good way to start today."

Video: SEA@CLE: Lindor hits leadoff homer to right-center

Back-to-back, again: Ramirez's outing came to an abrupt close in the sixth inning, when Alonso and Gomes opened the frame by connecting for consecutive homers off the righty. It marked the first time since June 7, 2009, that the Indians launched back-to-back home runs twice within the same game.

Video: SEA@CLE: Gomes goes back-to-back with Alonso

SOUND SMART
Ramirez became the first starting pitcher to allow at least five home runs against Cleveland since May 26, 1995, when Pat Hentgen was on the wrong end of that feat for the Blue Jays. In that game 23 years ago, Manny Ramirez (two), Paul Sorrento (two) and Omar Vizquel each went deep against Hentgen.

HE SAID IT
"He's just turning into an elite pitcher, because it's not every day that he's got his best stuff, but he's still able to get through it. That takes a little bit more than just having good stuff out there. I think we've seen some guys that have that really good stuff still get beat around a little bit. But when he doesn't have it, he still has a way of turning into another gear." -- Gomes, on Kluber

"He's got some amazing stuff. The command is just the icing on the cake when you've got that good of stuff. It just proves why he's one of the best in the game. To keep a lineup like this down is impressive." -- Zunino, on Kluber

UP NEXT
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (4-0, 2.31 ERA) will look to continue his strong start to the season on Saturday, when the Indians host the Mariners in a 4:10 p.m. ET tilt at Progressive Field. Carrasco is 9-4 with a 3.69 ERA at home over the last two years. Righty Mike Leake (2-2, 6.59 ERA) is slated to start for Seattle.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion, Corey Kluber, Francisco Lindor