NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Corey Kluber came within an out of a complete game, striking out 10 to lift the Cleveland Indians over the Detroit Tigers 6-2 Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Kluber (10-6) allowed seven hits — three by Miguel Cabrera — and one walk. He was relieved by Bryan Shaw in the ninth after equaling his career high of 114 pitches.
Kluber’s only career complete game was April 24 against Kansas City.
Drew VerHagen (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits, lasting five innings in his major league debut. He struck out four of his first six batters, but the 23-year-old right-hander didn’t fan another hitter after that bright start.
Cleveland’s Yan Gomes had three hits and scored three runs on his 27th birthday. The Indians pulled within 5 1/2 games of the first-place Tigers in the AL Central.
Cleveland managed one hit in the first four innings before breaking through in the fifth. After a leadoff walk by Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Swisher lifted an RBI double, and David Murphy and Jason Kipnis added run-scoring singles to make it 3-0.
Detroit scored in the bottom half on a two-out infield single by Austin Jackson. Kipnis, the second baseman, came charging in, but he double-clutched a bit before making the throw, and the speedy Jackson beat it out, enabling a run to score from third.
Ian Kinsler followed with a line drive to third that was caught by a diving Chisenhall.
The 6-foot-6 VerHagen was called up to pitch in this doubleheader, and after he struck out Kipnis to start the game, catcher Bryan Holaday tossed the ball back to the Detroit dugout, presumably to be saved for the rookie. The only hit off VerHagen for the first four innings was a bunt single by Michael Brantley.
But Kluber had little trouble with the Detroit lineup. He did not allow a baserunner after the fifth, striking out the side in the seventh.
Kipnis made it 4-1 with an RBI single in the seventh, and Murphy and Asdrubal Cabrera added run-scoring singles in the ninth.
NOTES: The day-night doubleheader was scheduled because of an April 15 postponement. There was a light drizzle during the early innings Saturday, but no delays. … Detroit’s Nick Castellanos struck out three times. … Cabrera is 15 for 28 (.536) against Kluber. … Holaday threw out three runners on steal attempts. … Kluber struck out at least 10 for the fifth time this season.
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