CLEVELAND – The first sellout at Progressive Field ended on a walk-off double off the bat of Michael Brantley in the 10th inning on April 11, the home opener to the campaign.
The second sellout at Progressive Field ended on the opposite end of the spectrum, a night where the Indians batted 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base to spoil Corey Kluber’s historic performance on the mound.
Even though Kluber set the franchise record with double-digit strikeouts for the fifth consecutive start, the Tribe squandered a number of chances to score and lost 1-0 to the Padres on Tuesday night.
Cahill matches Kluber
Five players reached base between the two teams in the first five innings, none of which came around to score. Kluber made use of Bradley Zimmer’s diving catch in center field while Trevor Cahill held the Tribe to an .000 (0-for-5) clip with runners in scoring position during the scoreless span.
“That play right there gives the team a boost,” Kluber said of Zimmer. “That can be uplifting for the team, definitely, when you get those kind of diving, leaping plays. It’s pretty much on a nightly basis right now.”
Cory Spangenberg broke the scoring barrier on what looked to be a tailor made double play to Jason Kipnis. Instead, the second baseman bobbled the ball and settled for the force out.
“It just caught me in the palm a little bit, top-spinned a little bit more and caught me in the bad part of the glove and popped out right in front of me,” said Kipnis. “At that point, I just had to rush and get one. That needs to be turned, though.”
Kluber retired 23 of the 29 batters he faced, rolling to a final line of 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 10 K (107 pitches, 73 strikes, 68.2%, seven groundouts, two flyouts).
“I don’t think that strikeouts are necessarily the only way to reflect a good game,” Kluber said. “It’s the product of making good pitches. I think that I made some good pitches today, where the at-bat didn’t end in a strikeout. I don’t think that’s the only way to measure it.”
Bats unable to break through
The home nine missed valuable opportunities on five different occasions, stranding runners in scoring position when they needed to cash in to help the cruising Kluber.
“There’s no doubt, especially early. Obviously we had all the guys on and couple guys at third and less than two outs,” said Mills. “We weren’t able to get them in. Cahill’s ball was moving all over the place.”
Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out with runners at second and third, Brantley grounded out with the bases loaded and six of the last eight batters in the game struck out. The top four hitters in the lineup went 0-for-14 with a walk against Cahill and the San Diego bullpen.
“It would’ve been nice we tried to get [the ball up] in those situations a little bit,” Mills said. “But at the same time, he pitched well. It was effective, so he kept doing it.”
Cody Allen punched out all three hitters he faced but the dominant pitching effort proved too little in the low-scoring affair.
Central Division update
The Twins (43-40) edged past the Angels, the Tigers (37-45) topped the Giants, the Athletics handled the White Sox (37-46) and the Royals (43-40) beat the Mariners.
The series continues on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. from Progressive Field.
RHP Trevor Bauer (7-6, 5.24) will look to build upon his success in June, recording a 3.82 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and .263 opposing batting average in six starts. The 26-year-old has a line of 9.1 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 6 BB, 12 K in two appearances vs. San Diego.
RHP Luis Perdomo (3-4, 4.71) will toe the rubber for his 50th career start, the first of which will come vs. Cleveland. The 24-year-old ties the team-lead in quality starts (9) and features a 1-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in a pair of Interleague outings this season.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.