CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians were supposed to be the team with questions about their starting pitching in the ALDS, but thus far, Cleveland’s bats have done nothing but cause problems for Boston’s talented starters.
The Tribe sent Red Sox starter David Price to the earliest exit of his postseason career, as Lonnie Chisenhall’s three-run homer in the bottom of the second inning and Corey Kluber’s befuddlement of Boston’s bats helped the Indians grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five, winning Friday’s Game 2, 6-0.
Price allowed at least four runs for the fifth time as a playoff starter, serving up five earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings, the shortest start of his postseason career.
The Sox’s high-priced lefty now owns a 5.74 ERA in his MLB playoff career.
Most of Cleveland’s damage came in the fourth, when Brandon Guyer opened Friday’s scoring with a soft RBI single to center field, scoring Carlos Santana from second.
Jose Ramirez, who reached on an infield single in the inning, advanced to third and scored on Chisenhall’s laser beam down the right field line, which just hit above the yellow line and ricocheted back on the field for a three-run round-tripper.
The massive blow was Chisenhall’s first homer off a left-handed pitcher this season.
Combined with Thursday’s long-ball assault of Cy Young candidate Rick Porcello, the Indians’ offense has put 10 runs on the board over 7 1/3 innings vs. Boston’s no. 1 and 2 starters.
Meanwhile, the Indians Cy Young contender, Kluber, tossed seven shutout innings, pitching into the eighth before leaving to a thunderous ovation from the capacity crowd at Progressive Field.
The righty allowed just three hits, walking three and striking out seven, giving Cleveland an incredible performance — the shutout frames came on the heels of the Indians’ pen working 4 1/3 innings the night before — when the Tribe needed it most.
Dan Otero, who did not pitch on Thursday, came on in relief in the top of the eighth, stranding both runners he inherited after Kluber led off the inning with a walk and hit batter, and Bryan Shaw worked a scoreless ninth for the Tribe, completing the shutout of the Sox, the AL’s top run-scoring club in 2016.
Offensively for Cleveland, Guyer contributed three hits and scored twice, and Jose Ramirez picked up a pair of hits and scored a run. Additionally, Rajai Davis and Jason Kipnis each knocked in a run.
The Indians will carry their 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series against the Red Sox into Fenway Park, where the two clubs will play Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.
Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40) will have an opportunity to help close out Boston. Clay Buchholz (8-10, 4.78) will look to extend the series for the Red Sox.