CLEVELAND — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona made a blunt assessment Friday afternoon over the way his team has played this season.
“We have not been very good to date — that’s the understatement of the year,” he said before the Indians took on the Chicago White Sox.
Coming off a 1-4 road trip, the defending AL champs finally clicked in all phases — at least for one night.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a go-ahead two-run homer, Corey Kluber won his second straight start since coming off the disabled list and the Indians beat the White Sox 7-3.
Center fielder Bradley Zimmer and second baseman Jason Kipnis made key defensive plays in the third inning after Chicago scored twice to go ahead.
Francona has met with players individually and in groups to find a solution for the team’s inconsistency.
“In the past couple of days, I’ve probably had more meetings than I’ve had in years, because we want to get it right,” he said. “Sometimes, for whatever reason, you go through periods where it just isn’t very good.”
“It’s not the worst thing in the world to get a reminder every now and again if you go out and play the right way, good things happen,” Kluber said.
Encarnacion’s drive to center field in the fifth gave Cleveland the lead and highlighted a 3-for-4 night.
The 30,047 fans at Progressive Field divided their attention with Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors that took place across the street.
Chicago slugger Jose Abreu was lifted in the seventh inning after being hit on the left leg by Andrew Miller’s pitch. Abreu fell to the ground and couldn’t put any weight on his leg while being helped to the dugout. Chicago said he has a bruised leg and will be re-evaluated Saturday.
“I’m sure he’s going to have some tightness in the morning,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’ll figure out when I talk to him and when he comes to the park if he’ll make the day, but this will be truthfully a day-to-day type.”
Kluber (5-2) allowed three runs and struck out eight in six innings. The right-hander, who made only one start in May because of a strained back, pitched six scoreless innings against Oakland on June 1.
Miguel Gonzalez (4-7) allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings for the White Sox, who have lost eight of nine.
Yan Gomes had a two-run single while Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall and Bradley Zimmer added RBIs.
Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier had run-scoring singles in the third. Abreu’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly put Chicago ahead, but Encarnacion’s blast gave Cleveland the lead for good.
The White Sox would have had a bigger inning in the third, but Zimmer threw Cabrera out at the plate on Avisail Garcia’s single and Kipnis made a diving stop on Omar Narvaez’s ground ball to end the inning.