It’s easy to see why the Cleveland Indians get a positive vibe whenever Corey Kluber takes the mound.
“Klubes has pitched to the point where, heck yeah, you better play with confidence,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the league.”
Kluber (12-6) continued his dominant stretch by allowing one run over 71/3 innings in Monday night’s 7-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Kluber, who hasn’t lost since June 30, held the Reds to six hits, struck out seven and walked two in winning his fifth straight decision.
“I started out not so great with my command, but I was able to reel it in and had better command in the middle of the game,” he said.
The only bad news came in the eighth when Kluber’s 17-inning scoreless streak ended on Brayan Pena’s RBI double off reliever Nick Hagadone. That also ended the right-hander’s stretch of not allowing an earned run at 25 innings.
Jay Bruce started the eighth with a single. After Todd Frazier struck out, Devin Mesoraco’s single ended Kluber’s night after 110 pitches.
Francona pulled Kluber, who received a standing ovation from the 18,696 fans. The crowd groaned when Pena’s hit pushed a run across the plate.
“Every starter wants to go deep into the game, but in that situation when it was still close, and my pitch count was up,” Kluber said. “I understand.”
Lonnie Chisenhall hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Alfredo Simon (12-7). Yan Gomes hit a two-run homer in the eighth as Cleveland won its fourth straight.
The series between the intrastate rivals features teams trying to remain in playoff contention. The win lifted the Indians (57-55) two games over .500 for the first time since July 22. The Reds are 5-12 since the All-Star break and fell to .500 (56-56).
Kluber stopped Seattle on a three-hitter Wednesday and took a perfect game into the seventh inning against Kansas City on July 24 in his previous start, with the Royals scoring an unearned run in the eighth.
Kluber’s only loss in his brilliant stretch came in a 1-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers.