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Indians step up in win over Astros.

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a two run home run during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros.

MCT/Cleveland, Ohio

Abraham Almonte opened his glove and found the ball there. Corey Kluber didn't abandon ship. Yan Gomes threw out another baserunner from his knees and Francisco Lindor homered to a part of Progressive Field he thought he'd never reach.

Then came the ninth inning when manager Terry Francona checked in on the Browns' draft.

"There was a lot of stuff going on in the ninth inning," said Francona. "They have runners on base and there's a TV next to me and the Browns are about to make pick. Talk about pressure."

Francona was in a good mood because the Indians came from behind Thursday night to beat Houston, 4-3, and win their third straight series. This one required special handling.

Almonte saved the game in the first inning with a two-out, bases-loaded catch against the right field wall that he'll probably still be feeling Friday morning.

'That was a big play in the game," said Kluber. "If we're down 2-0 or 3-0, it changes things a lot."

Almonte hit the wall at the same time he caught Yuli Gurriel's liner. When he landed, he had to check to see if the ball was inside his glove.

"If he doesn't make that catch, we're probably down 3-0," said Francona. "That's a big hole to climb out of."

Cody Allen saved the game again in the ninth by retiring Carlos Correa and Brian McCann with runners on second and third. Allen's fifth save of the season came a day after he retired four straight batters to save a 7-6 win over Houston.

"Cody's first pitch was a breaking ball," said Francona. "His breaking ball has been consistent. It's locked in like it's the middle of the season."

Gomes, the early-season clubhouse leader in taking heat from Indians' fans, walked twice, doubled and stopped Houston's running game by throwing out Nori Aoki from his knees in the fourth and Jose Altuve from his feet in the ninth.

Aoki had a big jump, but Gomes cut him down with a beautiful throw. It's the second time he's thrown a runner out from his knees this season.

In the ninth, with the Tribe leading, 4-3, Altuve started the inning with a pinch-hit single. He tried to steal second with Josh Reddick batting, but Gomes' throw beat him to the bag as Lindor made the catch and tag.

"Obviously, we feel comfortable throwing to them," said Kluber, who recorded his 25th double digit strikeout game. "But another thing that makes them so great back there is how well they can throw other guys out on the bases."

Gomes has thrown out 50 percent (6-for-12) of the runners who have tried to steal on him this year. Perez is at 50 percent (2-for-4) as well.

Kluber (3-1, 4.19) allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in the first three innings. Marwin Gonzalez homered in the second, but other than that there weren't a lot of hard hit balls. That's what Kluber kept telling himself.

"Those things are not in your control as a pitcher," said Kluber. "The tough part is not to abandon ship, so to speak. You have to take a step back and realize you executed a pitch like you wanted. If you keep doing that, more than likely, things will turnaround for you."

Kluber, after the third inning, allowed one hit and no runs through the next four. He recorded six of his 10 strikeouts along the way.

"What he did was give us a chance," said Francona.

"You could tell how much confidence they have in because of where they brought him into the game," said Francona.

Lindor leads the Indians with six homers. He hit 15 last year.

"Thankfully, he left one of those split/changeups up to Frankie," said Francona.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Apr 28, 2017
Words:667
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