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Cardinals send Kluber to worst start in career

By PAUL HOYNES • Jun 27, 2018 at 1:19 AM

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — So far the best thing the Indians have done in this series is perfect their rain delay routines. Their problem has come when they've actually had to take the field of play.

Just ask Corey Kluber.

The two-time Cy Young winner, after waiting 1 hour and 26 minutes for the rain to stop, lasted just 1 2/3 innings as the Cardinals ripped him on the way to a 10-2 victory over the Indians Tuesday night. Kluber, in the shortest start of his career, allowed six runs on six hits.

On Monday night, Mike Clevinger had to wait out 1 hour and 21 minutes of rain before facing the Cardinals. The minute he did, his body turned into one giant muscle cramp as he grinded through five innings on the way to a 4-0 loss.

As for the Tribe's offense, well, it might still be soaked. After giving Kluber a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI singles by Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, they took the rest of the night off.

Carlos Martinez, a pitcher who had an 8.10 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list, looked more like Kluber than Kluber. Martinez, (4-4, 3.22), after giving up two runs in the first, held the Indians scoreless for his next five innings. He struck out eight, walked one and threw 71 percent of his pitches for strikes.

Kluber (11-4, 2.54) gave up a leadoff homer to Matt Carpenter to start the game. When Kluber allows homers in the first inning, it's never a good sign. Anyone who remembers last year's ALDS knows all about that.

Carpenter went 5-for-5 with two homers, one double and five runs scored. He finished his night with a homer off George Kontos in the eighth. He actually has six straight hits against the Tribe, singling in his last at-bat Monday night.

The last opponent to have a five-hit game against the Indians was Texas' Estaban German on Sept 9, 2009.

When Kluber allows a homer in the second inning, it's hardly a reason to celebrate. This one was a three-run shot by Jose Martinez, the son of former Indian Carlos Martinez, the same Carlos Martinez who hit a home run off Jose Canseco's head at Municipal Stadium.

Jose Martinez looks like his dad and swings like him, too. Martinez almost came out of his spikes in sending a three-run homer over the left field fence with two out in the second for a 6-2 lead. Manager Terry Francona had seen enough and removed Kluber for Dan Otero.

It was Kluber's second early exit in the last three starts. He lasted just five innings in a 6-2 loss to the Twins on June 15. He followed that with seven scoreless innings against the White Sox in a 12-0 win on June 20.

So in his last three starts, Kluber has allowed 10 earned runs on 11 hits in 13 2/3 innings.

In two games against St. Louis, the Indians have scored two runs in 18 innings. On Sunday, in completing a three-game sweep of the Tigers, they scored 12 runs on 19 hits.

What it means

Kluber, before last night, was 13-5 with a 2.24 ERA in 21 career interleague starts. Tuesday's night's wreck against the Cards did not extend that pattern.

The pitches

Kluber threw 48 pitches, 31 (65 percent) for strikes. Martinez threw 103 pitches, 73 (71 percent) for strikes.

End of the line

Jose Ramirez's streak of reaching base in consecutive games ended at 32. It had been the second longest active streak in big leagues behind Shin-Soo Choo of Texas at 38 games.

Thanks for coming

The Indians and Cardinals drew 40,288 fans to Busch Stadium. First pitch was at 9:41 p.m. with a temperature of 69 degrees.

Up next

The Indians end this three-game interleague series when rookie right-hander Shane Bieber (2-0, 2.45) faces the Cardinals and right-hander Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50) at 8:15 p.m. tonight. SportsTime Ohio, WLKR 95.3/FM will carry the game.

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