Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Corey Kluber had a career day, tossing a four-hit complete game, as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals, 5-1, in the finale of a four-game set at Progressive Field.
Kluber (2-2) yielded just one unearned run, struck out a career-high 11 and didn't walk a batter in tossing his first career complete game. The right- hander used the strong performance to lower his ERA from 5.40 to 3.90.
"There's a fire in there," said Indians manager Terry Francona of Kluber. "He competes. He wants to be really good. For a guy who doesn't have a ton of time in the majors, he goes about it the right way."
Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Indians, who have won four of five, including three of four in this set, to climb to the .500 mark for the season. David Murphy also drove in a pair of runs for Cleveland, which used a five-run fifth inning to give Kluber all the support he would need.
Jarrod Dyson ended with two of the four hits for the Royals, who have dropped four of five overall.
The Indians got to Kansas City starter Bruce Chen in the fifth inning. Carlos Santana began the frame with a double and came around to score the first run of the game when Michael Brantley followed with a base hit.
Later in the frame with the bases loaded, Murphy came through with a single to plate a pair of runners for a 3-0 edge. Then, after Mike Aviles sacrificed runners to second and third, Cabrera doubled them home for a five-run lead and force Chen from the contest.
Michael Mariot came on for Chen and struck out Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis to end the inning without any further damage.
"Crooked numbers are great when it's going our way," said Francona about the big inning.
Kansas City did get a run back in the seventh when Omar Infante scored on a fielding error charged to Swisher at first base .
However, it wasn't enough to get Chen (1-2) off the hook. The left-hander was charged with five runs on six hits, striking out two and walking one, in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Replay came into play in the bottom of the first inning. With one out and a runner on third, Kipnis hit a high chopper down the first base line. Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer fielded the ball behind the bag, stepped on the base for the second out and fired home, where home plate umpire Greg Gibson called Cabrera out after catcher Yan Gomes applied a tag on a bang-bang play.
Francona came out to question the call. The umpires reviewed the play at the plate on their own without Cleveland using a challenge and confirmed the call.
Kluber's previous career-best in strikeouts was 10, hitting the mark twice with the last time coming on July 7, 2013, against Detroit ... Kansas City is just 1-3 on its current seven-game road trip that ends with three in Baltimore this weekend ... Cleveland ended a seven-game homestand 4-3.