Klu­ber stiffs Jays with 14 Ks for win and series sweep

CLEVE­LAND 8, TORONTO 1

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE HERRICK

Corey Klu­ber’s stiff neck cleared up a day too soon for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Cleve­land’s ace struck out a sea­son-high 14 in 7 2/3 in­nings and showed no signs of the neck prob­lem that pushed back him back in the ro­ta­tion, with an­other dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance in the In­di­ans’ 8-1 Amer­i­can League base­ball vic­tory Sun­day.

“It wasn’t any­thing that was re­ally con­cern­ing,” said Klu­ber, whose reg­u­lar turn in the ro­ta­tion was sched­uled for Fri­day.

“Just needed a cou­ple of ex­tra days to get to the spot I wanted to be. I didn’t think about it at all.”

Klu­ber (8-3) al­lowed five hits, in­clud­ing Kevin Pil­lar’s lead­off HR in the third, and reached dou­ble fig­ures in strike­outs for the ninth time in 16 starts.

He fell four strike­outs short of match­ing his ca­reer-high 18 against St. Louis in 2015.

The 2014 AL Cy Young win­ner fanned the first two hit­ters in the eighth, be­fore walk­ing Josh Don­ald­son, end­ing a nine-pitch at-bat. The right-han­der, who threw 120 pitches, re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from the crowd of 30,701 af­ter be­ing pulled by man­ager Terry Fran­cona.

“I knew it was my last hit­ter,” Klu­ber said.

“I guess when you get in that spot you empty the tank and leave ev­ery­thing out there, be­cause there’s no more af­ter that point.”

Klu­ber missed a month ear­lier this sea­son with a strained back. He’s 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 10 starts since com­ing off the dis­abled list.

“He’s kind of set the bar pretty high,” said Fran­cona. “We rely on him so much and he knows that. It’s nice to put his name in there ev­ery five days.”

Blue Jays man­ager John Gib­bons, whose team fin­ished 3-7 on its long­est road trip of the sea­son, ex­pressed a sim­i­lar opin­ion.

“He’s one of the best in base­ball, but he was as good to­day as we’ve ever seen him,” Gib­bons said.

J.A. Happ (3-7) al­lowed a sea­son­high seven runs in six in­nings.

The Jays were outscored 23-5 in the series. “We need to get home,” Gib­bons said. “It was a lousy day.” BREAK-EVEN MARK The win moved the In­di­ans to 2424 at Pro­gres­sive Field af­ter go­ing 53-28 at home last sea­son. BASE­MENT VIEW The Blue Jays are 44-54 and firmly in last place in the AL East.

“We have come back from sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions and made it to the play­offs,” said Jose Bautista, who struck out three times against Klu­ber.

“All we can con­trol is the games we have left.”

Bautista had lit­tle to say on whether he’d waive his no-trade clause with the July 31 dead­line ap­proach­ing.

“I’m not will­ing to en­ter­tain that type of ques­tion right now,” he said.

TRAINER’S ROOM Blue Jays: SS Troy Tu­low­itzki (groin) was not in the lineup for the sec­ond day in a row. He was in­jured while run­ning to first base in his fi­nal at-bat Fri­day.

UP NEXT Blue Jays: Left-handed pitcher Fran­cisco Liri­ano opens a fourgame home series against Oak­land on Mon­day.

He moved up one day in the ro­ta­tion when Aaron Sanchez was placed on the dis­abled list.

TONY DE­JAK, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In­di­ans start­ing pitcher Corey Klu­ber de­liv­ers to Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Don­ald­son in the first in­ning Sun­day in Cleve­land. Klu­ber struck out a sea­son-high 14 in an easy vic­tory for Cleve­land over Toronto.

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