CHICAGO — The Cleveland Indians didn’t need much help to match last season’s team-record 14-game winning streak, batting .317 and posting a 1.86 ERA over the last two weeks.
No. 15 was over almost before it started.
Cleveland jumped all over emergency starter Mike Pelfrey for seven runs in the first three innings and Corey Kluber struck out 13 in seven innings of three-hit ball Thursday night, helping the Indians win their franchise-record 15th consecutive game with an 11-2 romp over the Chicago White Sox.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Cleveland went deep five times in becoming the first major league team to win 15 straight since the 2002 Oakland A’s.
“The winning streak is enjoyable and I think it’s got people’s attention, which gives me a chance to maybe brag on our guys a little, which I love,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Other than that, we just go play tomorrow.
“The Orioles are already sitting back home waiting for us. We’ll have our hands full. It just makes the games a little bit more fun because people are watching and they care.”
Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu homered in the first for Chicago, but Kluber allowed only one more hit — a fifth-inning single for Omar Narvaez.
The right-hander retired 20 of his last 22 batters on his way to double-digit strikeouts for the 14th time this season and 38th of his career.
Erik Gonzalez hit two home runs and Francisco Lindor and Greg Allen hit one apiece for the Indians. It was the first homer of Allen’s career.
The White Sox turned to Pelfrey (3-11), who threw 40 pitches in 2 1/3 innings of relief Tuesday, when Carlos Rodon (shoulder stiffness) was scratched about 15 minutes before game time. Pelfrey allowed seven runs and eight hits in four innings.
Rodon will have his shoulder examined today.
“Just a little soreness when I was trying to get it going,” Rodon said. “Just precautionary stuff. We’ll figure it out tomorrow with some pictures and see what happens. It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to mess anything up.”
The Indians are the first team to win at least 14 in a row in consecutive seasons since the 1935-36 Chicago Cubs.
“Different years, different players,” Kluber said, “but I think the one constant between both of them is good pitching, timely hitting, all that cliche stuff you say it takes to win ballgames.”
Pitching in a pinch
Third-string catcher Rob Brantly pitched the ninth inning for the White Sox. He allowed Gonzalez’s second homer. He was the first White Sox player whose primary position is catcher to pitch in a game, according to STATS LLC.
Francona changed his lineup when the White Sox pitching change was announced, installing the left-handed bats of outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Bradley Zimmer in place of Brandon Guyer and Allen.
Indians: 3B Yandy Diaz (left elbow contusion) departed after being hit by a pitch in the sixth inning.
** LHP Andrew Miller (right knee tendinitis) is expected to throw off the mound before the start of the series against the Orioles.
** INF Jose Ramirez (sore wrist) was held out of the lineup. Francona said he might miss one more game, but the injury isn’t serious.
** OF Jay Bruce (sore neck) was out of the lineup for the sixth straight game.
White Sox: RHP Jake Petricka (right elbow strain) was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
** SS Tim Anderson (illness) was out of the lineup for the second straight game.
** OF Willy Garcia (concussion) was sent on a rehab assignment to Class A Kannapolis.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (8-5, 3.50 ERA) will take the mound opposite Orioles LHP Wade Miley (8-11, 4.91 ERA) tonight. Clevinger allowed seven hits while striking out 15 over 12 scoreless innings in his last two starts.
White Sox: Rookie RHP Lucas Giolito (2-1, 2.25 ERA) and Giants LHP Matt Moore (4-13, 5.42 ERA) will square off in the opener of a three-game series today in Chicago. Giolito won his past two starts, allowing a total of one run and seven hits in 14 innings. Moore returns to the rotation after making his first relief appearance since 2011 on Sunday. He pitched two scoreless innings.
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