CLEVELAND — Corey Kluber showed he wasn’t hurt by putting the hurt on the Boston Red Sox.
In his first start in 10 days due to a strained quad, Kluber pitched seven scoreless innings and combined with two relievers on a three-hit shutout as the Cleveland Indians blanked the Boston Red Sox 6-0 on Friday in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field.
Cleveland leads the best-of-five series 2-0.
The Indians, who claimed the home field advantage on the last day of the regular season, have made the most of it, winning the first two games of the series, which shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Sunday.
“We’re just playing baseball. That’s what we know how to do. I don’t see anybody backing down, or anything like that. But the atmosphere is going to be a little different come Sunday,” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona.
“Our backs are against the wall. It’s pretty clear what lies ahead of us,” said Boston manager John Farrell. “We go home down 0-2. (Clay) Buchholz on the mound Sunday, with an attitude of no tomorrow.”
In winning Games 1 and 2, the Indians improved their home record this year to 55-28.
Cleveland got all the runs it in needed in a four-run second inning that was capped by a three-run home run by Lonnie Chisenhall.
Kluber, in his first career postseason start, held the American League’s highest scoring team scoreless on three hits through seven innings. He was removed from the game after walking the first batter and hitting the second batter of the eighth inning. Relievers Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw completed the shutout.
In his last start of the regular season, Kluber was removed from the game after four innings with a strained quad. He showed no signs of the injury Friday, striking out seven and allowing just three singles.
“The quad wasn’t a concern. It wasn’t in my mind at all,” Kluber said. “I just went out there and tried to execute my game plan.”
Boston starter David Price (0-1) came into the game hoping to reverse his dismal career postseason record, but instead all he did was add to it. Price is now 0-8 as a starter in the postseason, and 2-8 with a 5.53 ERA in the postseason overall.
The Red Sox needed a big game from Price, but he never made it out of the fourth inning. He barely made it out of the second. With one out in the bottom of the second, Carlos Santana singled and went to second on an infield single by Jose Ramirez.
Brandon Guyer, hitting .342 against left-handed pitching this season, singled to left, scoring Santana with the first run of the game. Ramirez went to third on Guyer’s hit.
Chisenhall then put an exclamation point on the rally by belting a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall for a three-run home run, giving Cleveland a 4-0 lead.
“He missed in twice, and then I reacted to a ball in and was able to keep it fair. I don’t remember much about going around the bases, but I know it was a quick run,” Chisenhall said.
Farrell said Price missed his spot.
“He was trying to sink a ball down and in, but he didn’t get it to that spot,” Farrell said. “I felt we had to go to the bullpen shortly thereafter.”
Chisenhall traditionally struggles against left-handed pitching. He hit just .217, with no home runs against lefties in the regular season. But Francona had Chisenhall in the lineup against the left-handed Price because of Chisenhall’s good numbers against Price. The home run improved Chisenhall’s career average against Price to .455 (5-for-11), with two homers and six RBIs.
“Lonnie’s homer was obviously huge. I mean, it’s a game changer,” Francona said. “It’s a one-run game and all of a sudden it’s a four-run game. He went up and got a good fastball and that really did help us a ton.”
The Indians added another run in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single by Jason Kipnis. Rajai Davis’ sacrifice fly in the sixth drove in Cleveland’s sixth run.
NOTES: The Indians’ three-homer third inning in Game 1 (C Roberto Perez, 2B Jason Kipnis, SS Francisco Lindor) is just the second time in team history the Indians have hit three home runs in an inning in a postseason game. The other came in Game 3 of the 1998 ALCS vs. the Yankees, when Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Mark Whiten homered. … Indians RHP Cody Allen’s save in Game 1 was the fifth time in Indians history a reliever had a postseason save of five or more outs. The others: Gene Bearden in Game 6 of the 1948 World Series, Jose Mesa in Game 5 of the 1997 ALDS, Brian Anderson in Game 4 of the 1997 World Series, and Mike Jackson in Game 2 of the 1998 ALDS. … DH David Ortiz has played in 74 of Boston’s postseason games since 2003, the most in Red Sox history. … Boston OF Mookie Betts turned 24 on Friday. Betts and Ted Williams are the only players in Red Sox history to have a season of 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs before turning 24.