The Indians took Collin McHugh deep three separate times and Josh James allowed a two-run home run in the ninth inning as Cleveland bested the Astros 6-3 Friday night.
Houston made Cleveland ace Corey Kluber look less than his normal stellar self as Kluber gave up seven hits, walked three and threw 98 pitches in only five innings. But, despite his struggles, Houston could only get three runs off Kluber and the Astros couldn’t put a dent in the Cleveland bullpen from the sixth inning on picking up three hits over the last four innings.
McHugh breezed through the Cleveland lineup the first time through, striking out six of the first nine Indian batters. Aside from an errant pitch that hit Jose Ramirez in the foot, McHugh didn’t face any resistance from the Cleveland offense. That was until the lineup flipped over in the third and Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor hit his 100th career homer in the third.
Lindor’s bomb was the first of four total homers by Cleveland. McHugh allowed solo shots to Carlos Gonzales in the fourth and Leonys Martin in the fifth. McHugh’s night was over after throwing five and two-thirds of an inning, allowing those three home runs but striking out nine.
The game was tied at three heading into the seventh inning until Cleveland catcher Tyler Naquin hit an RBI double to deep center field off off Hector Rondon. But Houston managed to keep the game within one until Lindor hit home run number two of the night, a three-run blast off Josh James to blow the game open.
Houston had a chance to really put the pressure on Cleveland early in the game. Josh Reddick led off the second inning with a double and Yulieski Gurriel moved him over to third with a single. Robinson Chirinos scored Reddick on a bunt single and, after a George Springer strikeout, Jose Altuve walked to load the bases. Alex Bregman was walked scoring Houston’s second run of the night but Michael Brantley struck out to end the second inning.
Houston had two more chances to tie the game but blew both opportunities. Brantley got on with a two-out single in the seventh and moved to third by a Carlos Correra single but Cleveland’s Nick Wittgren ended that threat.
Gurriel was able to lead off the eighth with a single but Wittgren again slammed the door on Houston.
Cleveland’s Brad Hand threw a scoreless ninth inning and recorded his eighth save of the season.
Saturday is game three of the four game series between Houston and Cleveland. The Indians will be starting Shane Bieber while Houston is scheduled to start Brad Peacock.
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