CLEVELAND -- In his second start since being activated from the disabled list, Indians ace Corey Kluber came through with another solid outing on Friday night. Backed by Edwin Encarnacion's go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth, Kluber's six strong innings led the Indians to a 7-3 victory over the White
CLEVELAND -- In his second start since being activated from the disabled list, Indians ace Corey Kluber came through with another solid outing on Friday night. Backed by Edwin Encarnacion's go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth, Kluber's six strong innings led the Indians to a 7-3 victory over the White Sox at Progressive Field.
In his six innings of work, Kluber (5-2) allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight en route to his second straight win. Relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen combined for three scoreless innings to close out the game.
"I thought he was good," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber. "There was some traffic, but it seemed like when runners got on, he went to his breaking ball, his curveball really effectively. He made pitches when he had to. When he's in there, we're down or it's close the whole way, so there wasn't any wiggle room for him."
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Despite its recent struggles, the Indians' offense provided enough support for Kluber. Encarnacion -- who had a season-high three hits -- hit his 11th homer of the season after Michael Brantley's RBI single in the first and Bradley Zimmer's bases-loaded walk in the fourth. The Indians scored three more runs in the eighth on back-to-back RBI hits from Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes.
"It's really good," Encarnacion said of the win. "We played the style of baseball that we need to play and we know we can play. We'll keep on motivating one another and continue to go out there and do our best."
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The White Sox scored all three of their runs off Kluber. Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier each connected for an RBI single in the third, and Jose Abreu drove in the third run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Abreu later exited the game with a leg bruise after a hit-by-pitch in the seventh.
Miguel Gonzalez was handed his seventh loss of the season after allowing four runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out two on 96 pitches.
"Felt good. It's frustrating. One pitch away from getting out of that fifth inning," Gonzalez said. "If I minimize the walks, it's a different ballgame. Just gotta keep working. Can't look back anymore. It's a tough one to swallow, guys are battling out there. Just got to keep working."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Zimmer says no: Following a leadoff single and stolen base by Adam Engel in the top of the third, Cabrera tied the game, 1-1, with an RBI single. With Cabrera on second, Avisail Garcia drove a single to center. It appeared that Cabrera would score easily, but Zimmer came up with a strong, two-hop throw -- which was nearly cut off by first baseman Carlos Santana -- to Gomes to nab Cabrera at the plate, temporarily bringing a halt to Chicago's rally. The play was the first career outfield assist for Zimmer.
"It's just another thing, just another moment you save there," Zimmer said. "I got to it quick and I tried to get rid of it as quick as I could. I threw it pretty low but luckily I had enough to get it there. But yeah, it was big. It was big."
Edwin goes yard: After the White Sox took the lead in the top of the fifth on Abreu's sacrifice fly, the Indians hit right back in the bottom half of the inning. Following a two-out walk to Santana, Gonzalez hung a slider to Encarnacion, and the Indians designated hitter connected for a go-ahead, two-run homer into the trees beyond the center-field wall. Encarnacion's home run traveled a projected 430 feet and had an exit velocity of 108 mph, per Statcast™.
"That was nice for him and us," Francona said on Encarnacion's home run. "To see him come up in that situation and, like you said, do what we got him here to do, it's nice. I was happy for him."
"I think that maybe we can use tonight as a starting point to continue to play that way. I think we've probably all come to the conclusion [that] we haven't played the way we wanted to. It's not like we've taken ourselves out of anything. It's not the worst thing in the world to get a reminder now and again that you go out and play the right way and good things happen." -- Kluber
"There was ... four two-out walks? That can't happen. That's not me. I got to change that. That's about it." -- Gonzalez
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With Friday's win, the Indians have won their last 52 games when Kluber gets at least four runs of support.
With two outs in the ninth, Cabrera tapped a grounder to the left of Allen on the mound. The reliever fielded the ball and flipped it to Santana to first for the final out of the game. The White Sox challenged the play, but after a 49-second review, the call was confirmed, officially ending the game.
ABREU EXITS THE GAME
With the tying run on second in the top of the seventh and Abreu at the plate, Miller let a slider get away from him. The pitch moved inside and hit Abreu on the left kneecap, causing the first baseman to fall to the ground in pain. Abreu was helped off the field by White Sox trainers and was replaced by pinch-runner Yolmer Sanchez. It was later announced that Abreu was diagnosed with a bruised left leg and will be re-evaluated Saturday.
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White Sox: LHP David Holmberg (0-0, 2.50) makes his third start of the season and his 11th overall appearance for the White Sox in Game 2 of this series at 6:15 p.m. CT Saturday at Progressive Field. Holmberg is limiting opponents to a .185 batting average (5-for-27) this season as a starter.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin (3-7, 5.54 ERA) will take the mound Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET at Progressive Field. Tomlin is coming off his seventh loss, where he went 7 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits against the Royals on June 2.
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William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.