CLEVELAND (AP) – Corey Kluber’s rocky season ended on a high note.
Kluber allowed three hits in eight innings while Carlos Santana and Ryan Raburn homered, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 2-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
Kluber won the AL Cy Young Award last season with an 18-9 record and a 2.44 ERA. The right-hander battled consistency issues and a hamstring injury this season, finishing 9-16 with a 3.49 ERA.
“Obviously the win-loss record isn’t what you’d like for it to be,” Kluber said. “I would like for the team to win more games I pitched, but I don’t feel it was drastically different from the way I pitched last year.”
While Kluber leads the league in losses, he ends the season near the top of the AL in innings pitched (222) and strikeouts (247).
“I guess the best way I could say it is we’d take five of him and be happy,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Tonight showed you his professionalism. There’s nothing more on the line except playing to compete because you care.”
Kluber struck out nine and recorded his first victory since Aug. 14. He didn’t allow a hit until Travis Shaw’s one-out single in the fourth. Sandy Leon singled in the fifth and eighth.
Kluber strained his right hamstring and missed three weeks in September. He was winless in his next three starts, allowing 10 earned runs in 13 2-3 innings.
Santana led off the second with a home run while Raburn’s homer started the fourth. Both landed several rows deep in the bleachers in left field.
Craig Breslow (0-4) gave up both home runs, his only mistakes in 5 1/3 innings. The veteran left-hander made his second career start after 522 relief appearances.
Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
Boston designated hitter Brock Holt left the game in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch on the left knee. He immediately went down and stayed on the ground for several moments. Holt was helped to the dugout by manager Torey Lovullo and a trainer.
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 30 minutes. Showers continued throughout the night, making the 49 degree temperature even more uncomfortable for the crowd of 17,342.
“Pitchers probably had an advantage in these conditions, but that was not the reason why we struggled,” Lovullo said. “Give all the credit to Kluber. I think he was feeling very good out there tonight.”
Dustin Pedroia, who missed 42 games with a strained right hamstring earlier this season, was scratched with the cold and wet conditions. David Ortiz, who hit his 37th home run Friday, was also out of the lineup. Both are expected to play in the final game of the season Sunday.
Red Sox rookie center fielder Mookie Betts drew a first-inning walk and has reached base in 36 consecutive games.
Raburn’s home run was his eighth of the season, all coming against left-handed pitchers.
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