April 24, 2014 – Kluber Complete Game on 101 Pitches
The Indians were wrapping up an early-season homestand with a Thursday 12:05 businessman’s special against the Royals.
After going 11 and 5 in the 2013 season, Corey Kluber was a rising star among the Indians pitching staff. However, he was still second in the rotation to Justin Masterson.
Kluber worked incredibly efficiently. He faced only three batters in the first, second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and ninth innings.
Royal’s starter Bruce Chen also cruised through the first four innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Carlos Santana led off with a double to center field. Michael Brantley poked the very next pitch into center field, scoring Santana. Chen then walked Ryan Raburn. Yan Gomes singled through the hole on the left side of the Infield, advancing the runners to second and third.
With the bases loaded, David Murphy hit a ground ball single to left field, scoring Brantley and Raburn. Mike Aviles laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Gomes and Murphy into scoring position. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a line drive double to left field scoring Gomes and Murphy. Bruce Chen was pulled in favor of Michael Mariot after giving up 5 runs on 5 hits in the inning. This was all the offense the Tribe would need with Kluber mowing through Royals batters.
In the top of the 7th with two outs, after a left-field single to Omar Infante, Nick Swisher made a half-hearted effort on a Mike Moustakis grounder. It rolled all the way to the right-field wall and allowed Infante to score from first base. Kluber then got Alcides Escobar to strike out swinging and end the threat.
Kluber was already known as a ground-out pitcher, who relied on his sinker to get batters out. In this case, eleven ground outs were matched with eleven strikeouts and no walks. This was Kluber’s first complete-game win, and he accomplished it using only 101 pitches.
With the perspective of another five years, fans recognize this pattern when Corey is performing at the top of his game. However, in 2014 this was one of the first indications that Kluber would surpass Justin Masterson as the ace of the staff. The game took only two hours and fifteen minutes, leaving many fans wondering what to do with the rest of their afternoon.