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Indians ace Corey Kluber continues to dominate division rivals

AP

Eventually, a team from the AL Central will figure out a way to beat Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber.

Kluber continued his dominance of the division on Sunday, allowing two runs in eight innings as the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 9-2.

The win improved Kluber (10-2) to 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA in five starts against division rivals this season. He’s won his last 11 decisions against teams from the AL Central.

“Division games are always huge, because those are the teams you are fighting for a playoff spot,” he said. “Obviously, winning your division is the easiest way to get in, so there’s a little more riding on these games.”

Kluber allowed five hits and struck out eight without walking a batter. He has 46 strikeouts and zero walks in his last six starts.

“I’m pretty sure I had some three-ball counts today, but my focus in that situation is to execute a pitch,” he said. “You don’t want to just throw a ball down the middle, because that’s when you give up damage. You still have to make a quality pitch.”

John Hicks, who had two hits off Kluber, tried to give his teammates some hopeful advice.

“I told a couple guys that if he throws a pitch that looks like a strike, it is probably going to end up a ball, and if it looks like a ball, it will probably be a strike,” he said. “It’s like hitting a Wiffle Ball.”

Mariners 5, Rays 4

In St. Petersburg, Florida, right fielder Mitch Haniger threw out Johnny Field at the plate to end the game, and Seattle held off the Rays for its 17th win in 22 games. Field tried to score from first on a two-out, bloop single by Carlos Gomez.

James Paxton struck out 10 and Kyle Seager hit a go-ahead home run for the Mariners. Nelson Cruz and Mike Zunino also homered for Seattle, which took three of four from Tampa Bay.

Astros 8, Rangers 7

In Arlington, Texas, George Springer scored the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning on a balk after homering on the first pitch, and the Astros swept their instate rivals in a four-game series for the first time, beating the Rangers despite blowing a six-run lead.

Texas closer Keone Kela had already thrown a pitch to Evan Gattis with two outs when Houston manager A.J. Hinch came out of the dugout apparently to question whether Kela had balked. After a brief conversation among the four umpires, Springer was awarded home. Replay showed Kela (3-3) not pausing in his delivery, and Rangers manager Jeff Banister was ejected while arguing the decision.

White Sox 5, Red Sox 2

In Boston, Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez pitched into the seventh inning, Daniel Palka had a two-run double and the White Sox beat the Red Sox.

Lopez (2-4) gave up two runs and six hits while striking out six with three walks in 6⅓ innings to improve to 1-3 in eight road starts this season.

Blue Jays 13, Orioles 3

In Toronto, Curtis Granderson had four hits and a career-high six RBIs, Marco Estrada pitched six innings to snap an eight-start winless streak and the Blue Jays routed struggling Orioles to complete a four-game sweep.

Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run homer and Kendrys Morales and Kevin Pillar each added solo blasts as Toronto finished with a season-high 19 hits. The Blue Jays had 17 hits in an 11-inning win at Cleveland on May 3.

Twins 7, Angels 5

In Minneapolis, Jake Cave had a career-high three hits, including a home run, and the Twins held on to beat Los Angeles.

Eduardo Escobar doubled twice to take over the major league lead with 26 and the Minnesota bullpen threw 3⅔ shutout innings before a two-run single by Albert Pujols in the ninth. Los Angeles had the go-ahead run at the plate against closer Fernando Rodney, but Zack Cozart popped out.

Athletics 3, Royals 2

In Oakland, Matt Chapman homered leading off the eighth, moments after shortstop Marcus Semien’s defensive gem, and the Athletics beat Kansas City.

Stephen Piscotty and Jonathan Lucroy both drove in runs for Oakland, which squandered numerous scoring chances before Chapman came through with a solo home run off Royals reliever Jason Adam (0-1).

Mets 2, Yankees 0

In New York, Seth Lugo (2-1) pitched six dominant innings in a stellar spot start, Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer off Luis Severino (9-2), and the Mets snapped an eight-game skid.

Frazier went deep for the second consecutive night to help the Mets prevent a Subway Series sweep at Citi Field. They ended a 10-game home losing streak and avoided an 0-9 homestand that would have matched the worst in team history.

Giants 2, Nationals 0

In Washington, Brandon Crawford went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer, and San Francisco dealt Max Scherzer his first loss in more than two months.

After Pablo Sandoval walked leading off the fourth, Crawford homered into the second deck in right for his eighth of the season. He singled in the first and doubled in the sixth and eighth innings. Since May 1, Crawford is hitting an MLB-best .439 (58-for-132) and has raised his average to .338.

Scherzer (10-2) had won nine straight decisions since his last loss on April 4. He allowed two runs and four hits while striking out nine over seven innings.

Padres 3, Marlins 1

In Miami, Clayton Richard became the latest pitcher to flirt with the first no-hitter in San Diego history, losing his bid with two outs in the seventh inning.

The Padres are the only team in the majors that has never thrown a no-hitter. They have played 7,881 games since starting out in 1969. Last month, Jordan Lyles was perfect for 7⅓ innings until Colorado’s Trevor Story singled.

Dodgers 7, Braves 2

In Los Angeles, Max Muncy homered in his third straight game, Logan Forsythe and Enrique Hernandez also connected, and the Dodgers beat Atlanta.

Muncy has 12 home runs, matching the total he hit last year while spending the whole season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He hit a solo drive in the fifth inning to extend Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2, and drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth. The Dodgers took the series from Atlanta and have won seven of their last nine games. The NL champions moved to 33-32 — they have not been more than one game over .500 this season.

Reds 6, Cardinals 3

In Cincinnati, center fielder Billy Hamilton made a bunch of key defensive plays and the Reds ended their 13-game losing streak against St. Louis.

Hamilton threw out two runners, then made outstanding catches against the wall in the eighth and ninth innings. He also tripled and scored twice.

Phillies 4, Brewers 3

In Philadelphia, Zach Eflin tied his career high with nine strikeouts over six innings and the Phillies snapped a four-game losing streak by holding off Milwaukee.

Eflin (3-2) had his second strong start after two subpar outings, allowing two runs and three hits with one walk. Rhys Hoskins drove in two runs, including a go-ahead sacrifice fly in a three-run fifth off reliever Dan Jennings (3-2) in Philadelphia’s fourth win in 14 games.

Pirates 7, Cubs 1

In Chicago, Josh Harrison led off the game with a home run and Gregory Polanco hit a bases-loaded triple, leading Ivan Nova and Pittsburgh over the Cubs.

The Pirates, who had managed a total of three runs in their previous four road games, ended their losing streak at three.

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 3

In Denver, Paul Goldschmidt doubled and tripled and had two RBIs to finish off a dominating series and Arizona earned a victory over the Rockies.

Ketel Marte led off the second inning with his fourth home run of the season and added an RBI single in a three-run sixth. The single ended his streak of 10 straight hits for extra bases.