Record-Courier staff report
The Cleveland Indians won their fourth game in a row on Friday using a big five-run seventh inning to turn a 2-1 deficit to the Tampa Bay Rays into a 6-2 lead they never relinquished.
The Tribe used big bats on Friday for the road win, which was the team's sixth in eight games -- the two losses in that stretch came in ninth-inning meltdowns by closer John Axford.
On Friday, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Brantley and Mike Aviles all hit home runs.
Cabrera's kept him red-hot at the plate. He went 3-for-4 on Friday and continued to lift his average, which now sits at .254.
Cabrera's round-tripper was his third this year and second hit this week. Brantley's home run was his seventh and it was Aviles' second.
Brantley rose his team-leading RBI total to 30.
On the mound, Corey Kluber was solid again.
He sent 6 2/3 innings and gave up only two earned runs and struck out nine -- one game removed from setting a career high 11 strikeouts in his last outing. Of the 99 pitches thrown by Kluber, he threw 69 of them for strikes. The win lifted Kluber's record to an even 3-3.
Kluber was relieved by by Mark Rzepczynski , who delivered two-thirds of scoreless baseball, and Brian Shaw, who also pitched two-thirds of scoreless and hitless baseball. Both Rzepczynski and Shaw struck out one batter.
In the ninth, closer John Axford came in and finished the game for his American League leading 10th save of the season.
It came with some issues, though. Axford gave up an earned run and left runners stranded on second and third before the game was finished.
The Indians and Rays meet again tonight in Tampa Bay, with Zach McAllister toeing the rubber for the Tribe. Erik Bedard is scheduled to pitch for the Rays in the game that is slated for a 7:10 p.m. first pitch.
Yan Gomes and Nick Swisher each also had two-hit games for the Indians, with Swisher hitting his 10th double.
Michael Bourn's only hit of the game was his third triple of the season.