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Tribe hitters, Kluber batter White Sox for sweep

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Jun 20, 2018 at 8:04 PM

CLEVELAND — Corey Kluber was nearly unhittable and the Cleveland Indians offense couldn't miss Wednesday in an 12-0 victory against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.

Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis slugged three-run homers and Indians hitters continued to make the White Sox pay for mistakes both in the field and in the strike zone.

Kluber (11-3, 2.10) bounced back from a very un-Kluberlike start on June 15 that saw him lose to Minnesota for the first time in six outings. Wednesday's Kluber was much more familiar, striking out seven and allowing just one walk. A base hit by Omar Narvaez in the second inning was all the offense Chicago could muster against the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner.

Kluber faced one batter over the minimum through seven innings, issuing a walk to Charlie Tilson in the third inning before Tilson was erased on a steal attempt by Indians catcher Yan Gomes. He retired 13 straight after the walk to Tilson before exiting after seven brilliant innings and 96 pitches.

Kluber moved ahead of New York's Luis Severino and Washington's Max Scherzer for the MLB lead in wins by a pitcher. He entered second in the AL in WHIP (0.84) and third in earned run average (2.24).

The win improved Kluber's record to 6-1 with a 1.32 ERA in seven starts against AL Central Division teams. He also moved to 7-1 at home in nine starts, giving him sole possession of the major-league lead in home victories.

White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.59) dropped to 0-2 against the Indians in 2018, allowing four earned runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

After Francisco Lindor's leadoff walk, Chicago second baseman Yoan Moncada couldn't handle a Michael Brantley grounder. Moncada's error allowed Brantley to reach base and sent Lindor to third, setting the stage for Ramirez's 386-foot shot to right center that gave the Indians a 3-0 lead.

It was the fifth error committed by Chicago's defense in the series.

Ramirez moved into a tie for second in the American League with his 22nd home run of the season. He joins Boston's J.D. Martinez, one behind L.A.'s Mike Trout.

Ramirez is tied for the fourth-most home runs by an Indians hitter through the team's first 73 games. He matches Albert Belle (1994) and Jim Thome (1997) at 22 and trails Rocky Colavito (23 in 1959) and both Al Rosen (25 in 1950) and Belle (25 in 1995).

Ramirez also became the first Indians hitter to drive in 50 runs in the team's first 73 games since Victor Martinez and Mark DeRosa both did so in 2009. The home run extended Ramirez's consecutive games of reaching base to 28, a career high.

Cleveland added six runs in the sixth inning, sending nine batters to the plate against Chicago reliever Bruce Rondon as Edwin Encarnacion delivered a two-run double with the bases loaded and Kipnis homered for the second time in three games. Kipnis' three-run home run gave him six on the season to go along with 30 RBI. Rondon also allowed a run to score on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.

The Indians were 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position, including an RBI double by Yonder Alonso in the fifth inning and an RBI single by Rajai Davis in the fourth. Alonso added a base hit in the eighth for his fourth three-hit game of the season.

What it means

Cleveland stays unbeaten at home against the White Sox with its second three-game series sweep, 8-2 overall against the South Siders. The Tribe was 13-6 against the White Sox in 2017.

Streak snapped

One streak that did come to an end Wednesday was the team's consecutive steals mark at 23. Brantley was thrown out by White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez attempting to swipe third on the front end of a double-steal with Encarnacion in the third inning. Brantley was originally ruled safe, but the call was overturned following a Chicago managerial challenge.

It was the first time a Cleveland base stealer was caught since Brantley was thrown out by Chicago Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras on May 23, marking a franchise record since the stat became official in 1920.

Doink

Alonso's RBI double in the fifth came with a price. As the Tribe first baseman pulled into second base, Chicago right fielder Daniel Palka's throw from the warning track nailed him in the right shoulder and skipped all the way to Tim Anderson at shortstop.

The pitches

Kluber threw 96 pitches, 65 (68 percent) for strikes. Lopez threw 97 pitches, 58 (60 percent) for strikes.

Thanks for coming

The Indians and White Sox drew 23,101 fans to Progressive Field for a Wednesday matinee that was played under overcast skies. First pitch was at 1:10 p.m. with a game time temperature of 70 degrees.

Up next

The Indians get an off day on Thursday before welcoming the Detroit Tigers to Progressive Field for a three-game weekend series beginning at 7:10 p.m. Friday. Rookie right-hander Shane Bieber (1-0, 3.97) will start for Cleveland and veteran Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.09) gets the call for Detroit. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR-FM 95.3 will broadcast the game.

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