New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber handcuffed Detroit batters Sunday to earn his 100th career win with his most dominant performance since 2018. Nicknamed “Klubot” for his robot-like demeanor, the righthander grinned when congratulated in the dugout after his final inning.
“I’m not the most vocal or most emotional person in the clubhouse,” he explained after the Yankees’ 2-0 victory, “but I wouldn’t say that I don’t ever have a good time.”
A day after Jameson Taillon’s first win in exactly two years, Kluber combined on a two-hitter that helped New York (14-14) complete its first series sweep this season and get back to .500 for the first time since the Yankees were 5-5.
Before last month, Kluber had pitched one inning since May 1, 2019, due to a broken forearm when hit by a comebacker and a torn shoulder muscle. Kluber challenged himself “to kind of get back to maybe a level you expect of yourself.”
“I tried to be realistic about it, that it probably wasn’t going to be just flip a switch and feel like I like to feel out there, I’m accustomed to feeling out there,” he said.
Kluber (2-2) looked like the pitcher who won AL Cy Young Awards with Cleveland in 2014 and 2017.
He allowed two hits in eight innings, walked one and struck out 10 to reach double digits for the 47th time but first since Sept. 24, 2018. Kluber threw 74 of 103 pitches for strikes.
“When he’s in the zone, it’s kind of like — good luck,” said catcher Kyle Higashioka, who is gaining playing time from Gary Sánchez.
Kluiber’s fastball was “only” 91 mph but he induced 18 swinging strikes — 13 alone on 83-86 mph changeups that tamed a Tigers team that saw its season batting average dropped to a major league-worst .195.
Detroit has lost five straight and 10 of 11, dropping to a major league-worst 8-21. The Tigers have been blanked in three of their last four games and six times overall, on pace for 33 shutouts this season.
A’s pitcher injures hand playing video game
Athletics lefthander Jesús Luzardo will be off the mound for a while — and maybe off video games, too.
Luzardo is out indefinitely after breaking the pinkie finger on his pitching hand when he thumped a table while playing a video game before his start Saturday.
An X-ray after a loss to Baltimore showed a hairline fracture and Luzardo was put on the 10-day injured list Sunday.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said he didn’t know an immediate timeline for how much time Luzardo would miss or whether he would require a cast or splint on the finger.
“Before the game he was playing a video game and accidentally bumped his hand on the desk as he was playing the game,” Melvin said. “He came in, was a little bit sore, training staff checked him out, we threw him in the cage before he went out there, watched him warm up. He was comfortable pitching, the training staff was comfortable with him pitching. After the game we got an X-ray and there was a hairline in the pinkie finger.”
Luzardo (1-3, 5.79 ERA over six starts this season) wound up pitching three innings and took the loss in the 8-4 defeat to the Orioles, allowing six runs — three earned — on five hits.
Scherzer dominates, bolts for baby’s delivery
Max Scherzer did not stick around to discuss another pitching masterpiece after his complete game — along with some assistance at the plate from Ryan Zimmerman’s three-run homer — propelled the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins.
The Nationals’ ace righthander had a slightly more urgent matter to attend to with his wife, Erica, going into labor with the couple’s third child. So Manager Dave Martinez and teammates simply wished him well as Scherzer briskly departed Nationals Park.
“For him to go complete game and pitch the way he did today, then go over and have a baby with his wife — pretty cool day for him,” said Zimmerman, who also has experience becoming a father during a baseball season. “We’re happy for him. He never ceases to amaze me is, I guess, the best way to put it.”
Scherzer, 36, recorded his ninth strikeout, getting Corey Dickerson swinging, to end the game in 2 hours 37 minutes. He yielded one earned run on five hits and no walks over 106 pitches to cap the Nationals’ first three-game series sweep since 2019.