Kluber, Swisher lead Indians past White Sox 7-4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Nick Swisher is ready for LeBron James’ return to Cleveland.
“I almost felt like I should take some powder and throw it up in the air,” he said, referring to James’ signature pregame ritual, after hitting a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth inning of Cleveland’s 7-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Before Swisher’s home run, the biggest cheer from the crowd of 24,652 came when the Indians put a message on the scoreboard welcoming home James, who announced he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chants of “LBJ” were heard later in the game.
Corey Kluber (9-6) allowed four runs in six innings while David Murphy also homered for Cleveland, his first since May 21.
The win moved the Indians back to .500 (46-46) for the first time since June 20.
“It’s hot in the 216 right now, for sure,” Swisher said in reference to Cleveland’s area code. “There’s a lot of excitement.”
Kluber, left off the AL All-Star team despite a strong first half, wasn’t his usual dominant self but pitched well enough to win. The right-hander has won three of his last four decisions.
“I think Klubes is a really good pitcher,” manager Terry Francona said. “You’re not going to have your best command every night, but he still stayed out there for six and gave us a chance to win.”
“When you have 30-some starts, there are going to be times when it’s a struggle to get through it,” Kluber said. “You have to keep your team in the game. The important thing is we got a win.”
Cody Allen struck out the side in the ninth for his 11th save.
Swisher’s homer off Hector Noesi (3-7) to center field broke a 4-4 tie.
Adam Dunn hit a leadoff homer in the fifth for Chicago, which has lost three straight. The White Sox took the lead on three different occasions, but the Indians responded to tie or go ahead each time in their next at-bat.
“If you’re going to be down, that’s important,” Francona said.
The Indians were helped by an overturned call on a replay in the fifth. Asdrubal Cabrera was originally called out trying to steal second, but Francona challenged the call, and Cabrera was ruled safe after a review.
“That was obviously a huge call for us,” Francona said.
Lonnie Chisenhall’s single tied it before Swisher homered to center.
Francona and a trainer visited Kluber in the fourth after he slipped backing up the plate, but he remained in the game. Kluber struck out five, walked two and gave up eight hits.
Kluber was among the players in an online vote for the final spot on the All-Star team. The Indians’ massive marketing campaign for Kluber fell short, but he enters the break with a 3.01 ERA and is fourth in the AL with 142 strikeouts.
“Kluber’s offense bailed him out tonight,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “It looked good for us against him, but he ended up outlasting Hector and getting the win. Give the Indians credit, they made it happen for him.”
Adrian Nieto’s RBI double and Leury Garcia’s run-scoring grounder in the second put Chicago in front. Murphy’s two-run homer tied it in the bottom of the inning.
Adam Eaton’s RBI double in the fourth made it 3-2, but the Indians quickly tied it when Chris Dickerson drew a bases-loaded walk.
Kluber retired the first batter in the second, but the next three reached base. Conor Gillaspie doubled, took third on a single and scored on Nieto’s double to left. Garcia’s grounder made it 2-0.
Swisher singled with one out in the second, and Murphy homered to right,
Eaton’s double to left-center scored Garcia from first base in the fourth. Dunn homered to dead center field, the 454th shot of his career.
Noesi allowed six runs in 4 2-3 innings.
White Sox All-Star Jose Abreu, who leads the majors with 28 homers, was 1 for 4 with a third-inning single.
Carlos Santana had an RBI double in the seventh for Cleveland.
Cleveland’s bullpen pitched three scoreless innings, with John Axford working the seventh and Bryan Shaw pitching the eighth.
NOTES: Allen has converted 10 consecutive save opportunities. ... White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham, 1 for 30 in his last seven games, was given the night off. ... Cleveland optioned LHP T.J. House to the minors and called up RHP Austin Adams, a reliever. House will make a start at Single-A Mahoning Valley next week and be recalled following the All-Star break. ... The White Sox signed LHP Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 pick in the draft. ... RHP Zach McAllister (3-4) will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus by the Indians to start Saturday against RHP Scott Carroll (3-5).