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Corey Kluber cruises past Colorado Rockies in 8-3 victory

The Cleveland Indians got everything they needed from their top hurler as they rolled over the Colorado Rockies by a score of 8-3 on Thursday afternoon in Goodyear, Ariz.

Summary

Corey Kluber has regained his dominant form ever since allowing four runs in Game 7 of the World Series and six runs in the 2017 spring training opener.

In his last three Cactus League outings, the 2014 American League Cy Young winner has allowed five earned runs on 13 hits with 18 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched (2.81 ERA). 

Thursday's commanding appearance was the exclamation point on Kluber's trio of characteristic starts.

The Indians beat the Colorado Rockies 8-3 from Goodyear Ballpark, less than 24 hours after losing 10-2 to the same ballclub.

More on Kluber

In hopes to get Kluber stretched out for a potential opening day start, manager Terry Francona and staff decided to lengthen his workload to seven innings. Kluber responded well by punching out eight batters and surrendering one earned run to tally his first preseason win since Mar. 30, 2016.

"I thought he was tremendous," said Francona to reporters. "He wanted to get really stretched out, because he'll pull back a little bit the next outing."

The lone earned score off Kluber came in the seventh when Rafael Ynoa blasted his second homer of the spring to right center field.

"His last inning was probably his strongest inning." Francona said. "That was really good to see."

Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Carlos Frias tossed two combined innings of perfect baseball to secure the victory.

Bottom of the lineup production

Although the top four slots in the lineup batted a combined 2-for-18, the offensive contributions of Abraham Almonte and Richie Shaffer accounted for nearly half of the Tribe's 13 hits in the one-sided affair.

Almonte went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, Shaffer went 2-for-3 with a double and Erik Gonzalez and Adam Moore each slugged a home run to extend the home lead to 7-3 by the end of the eighth frame.

"[Shaffer's] had an interesting camp," said Francona. "He's got some thunder in his bat. We're trying to see whether it's left field, third base, where he fits. Maybe both. But, he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He's interesting."

If Shaffer can add to his four home runs and .273 average for the remaining portion of camp, then he may be a surprise addition to the defending AL champions' lineup come April.

"We're going to have an interesting week next week," Francona said in regards to constructing his first roster of the season. "We're actually going to meet, I think, on Saturday just to go over some things, because guys are making it tough the way they've been playing."

Michael Martinez (double), Erik Kratz (triple) and Jorma Rodriguez (double) rounded out the Cleveland offense with three run-scoring base knocks.

Up next

The Indians and Chicago Cubs will play for the second time since their 2016 World Series matchup on Friday at 4:05 PM ET from Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz.

After sitting out for the entirety of this past postseason, Carlos Carrasco will get his chance against the reigning champs and veteran John Lackey.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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