Clippers farmhand Clevinger impresses in return to Cleveland
HOUSTON -- (AP) The Cleveland Indians have needed someone to step up with ace Corey Kluber on the disabled list with a back problem.
On Saturday it was Mike Clevinger who filled that role, pitching no-hit ball into the seventh inning before Andrew Miller and Cody Allen completed the three-hitter to give the Indians a 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros.
"I just thought he was terrific," manager Terry Francona said. "They present so many challenges as a lineup and he continued to make pitches. You see a young pitcher come up and do something like that it makes that glass look a lot more half full."
Clevinger (2-1) yielded two hits and struck out a career-high eight in 7-plus innings, the longest outing of his career.
He preferred to talk about the team rather than his performance.
"This is the Cleveland Indians making a statement," he said. "We might have hit a little lull but we're a good ball team and we're a team to still look out for."
Houston didn't get its first hit until Jose Altuve's sharp grounder down the left field line for a single with no outs in the seventh inning.
"He had a day where he was on, and we couldn't figure him out," Josh Reddick said.
Clevinger was lifted after Evan Gattis singled with no outs in the eighth. Miller struck out two in the eighth and Allen allowed one hit in the ninth to convert his 12th save in as many opportunities and give him 21 straight dating to Aug. 18.
Lonnie Chisenhall had two hits and homered for the second straight day with a solo shot off Mike Fiers (1-2) in the fourth inning to help the Indians take their second straight from Houston.
Clevinger retired the first 10 batters before Reddick reached on an error by Edwin Encarnacion when his grounder rolled between the first baseman's legs and into the outfield with one out in the fourth.
Clevinger walked Carlos Correa with two outs in that inning, and Reddick walked with two outs in the sixth.
Clevinger, who was pitching on three days' rest after throwing 1/3 inning of relief on May 16, hadn't pitched longer than 5 2/3 innings entering Saturday. It was the 13th career start for Clevinger, who opened the season with Triple-A Columbus.
Chisenhall's home run to center field came with two outs in the fourth to make it 2-0. Fiers knew the second Chisenhall connected on the soaring shot that it was gone and jumped up and down in frustration as it sailed into the seats.
Chisenhall and Yan Gomes hit consecutive singles with one out in the second inning and they both advanced a base on a passed ball by Gattis with two outs in the inning. The Indians took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Jason Kipnis. But Gomez was thrown out at home to end the inning.
Carlos Santana's RBI double pushed the lead to 3-0 in the eighth inning.