|Kluber: 7 IP, 0 ER, 8 K|
Joining New York's Luis Severino as the only 17-game winners in the majors, Cory Kluber outdeuled Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow, blanking the Rays on two hits over seven innings as the Indians took the first of three by a 3-0 score.
Kluber and Glasnow traded goose-eggs for six innings, but the Tribe broke through in the bottom of the seventh on Edgar Encarnacion's 29th homer of the season, a 404-foot solo shot.
His job done, Kluber, who fanned eight, relaxed on the bench as Cody Allen and Brad Hand turned in hitless eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Hand picked up his seventh save for the Indians since coming over from San Diego in late July. Hand has 31 saves on the season, 24 of them with the Padres. In August, Hand was terrific, appearing in 12 games, saving six, with 19 strikeouts in 12.1 innings and a 1.46 ERA.
The win kept Cleveland's lead - the largest in the majors - at 14 games over the Twins. Minnesota dropped Texas on Friday, 10-7.
Game two of the Rays at Cleveland is Saturday, 7:10 pm EDT.
|DeJong: 2-for-5, HR, 5 RBI|
The best quality baseball in the majors is being played in the National League Central division, where the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers each have very good prospects to make the post-season.
Over their past ten games, the Cubs and Cardinals both were 8-2, while the Brewers went 7-3. Currently, the Cubs lead the division by 3 1/2 over St. Louis and four games over Milwaukee. The Cardinals hold the top wild card position by 1/2-game over the Brewers, who themselves are 2 1/2 clear of the Dodgers and three better than the Phillies and Rockies.
On Friday, the Cardinals opened a three-game series with the Reds in St. Louis with a definitive, 12-5 victory. After the Reds scored a pair of runs in the first inning, the Cards answered with four in the second and three more in the third. When Cincinnati closed the gap with three eighth inning runs, the Cardinals again responded with five in the bottom half of the inning.
Providing sufficient pop at the plate was St. Louis shortstop, Paul DeJong, with a three-run homer (14) in the third and a two-run single in the eighth. DeJong, currently in his second season, was 2-for-5 with a career-high five RBI and two runs.
The Cardinals gained a game on the Cubs, as Chicago dropped a 2-1, 10-inning decision at Philadelphia. 28-13 since July 19, St. Louis hosts the Reds Saturday, 7:15 pm EDT.