Now, he’ll try to help extend it.
After a slow start to the year, Cleveland (14-13) has started to hit its stride. The Indians have batted .373 and outscored opponents 53-14 during it streak. They last won seven in a row April 26-May 3, 2011.
The first of these victories came thanks in large part to Kluber (2-0, 2.25 ERA). In his first start of the season, Kluber scattered seven hits and struck out six over seven innings of two-run ball as Cleveland beat Kansas City in the nightcap of last Sunday’s doubleheader.
Filling in for the injured Brett Myers Kluber retired his final 10 batters.
“He was aggressive, especially in,” manager Terry Francona told MLB’s official website. “He was kind of moving guys off the plate and opening up the plate. Considering how much he’s been bounced around and things like that, for him to do what he did is very impressive.”
Francona was also impressed with Scott Kazmir who threw six strong innings in Saturday’s 7-3 win - earning his first big league victory since Sept. 19, 2010. Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher gave him an early lead by homering in the first inning.
Swisher, who has three homers and six RBIs in his last four matchups against the Twins (12-14), had been held out the previous three games due to a sore left shoulder.
“You don’t want to show up in the lineup and not pull your weight,” he said. “These guys have been on fire. As soon as you get back in the lineup you have to do your part as well.”
The Indians went 5 for 7 with runners in scoring position and are batting .392 in such situations during their winning streak.
“It’s about finding the outfield grass and getting the balls through,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s not about how you hit `em and how hard you hit `em. And they did that. They popped some balls, they rolled them through.”
Cleveland will try to stay hot against Pelfrey (2-3, 7.66), who continues to get hit hard. The right-hander has posted a 10.06 ERA and a .388 opponent batting average in losing three of his last four starts.
He allowed one run over five innings before giving up a three-run homer in the sixth of Monday’s 4-3 loss at Detroit.
“It’s better than what I’ve done before tonight, but it wasn’t good enough,” he said.
While Pelfrey hasn’t been able to get on track, Gardenhire believes it’s only a matter of time.
“You’re talking about a guy that’s missed a year of baseball and coming back from elbow surgery,” Gardenhire said. “It’s a process. It doesn’t just happen overnight. Tonight was a step forward. The one inning, he’s obviously going to be very frustrated about, but that’s a step forward.”
Pelfrey will be making his first appearance against Cleveland. Swisher and Drew Stubbs are a combined 5 for 12 against him.
Kluber owns a 4.60 ERA but hasn’t received a decision in three career starts versus Minnesota.