Corey kluber fans 6 in regular-season finale cleveland indians

In a 9-4 loss to the Royals on Saturday night, Kluber put the final touches on his Cy Young campaign, which will likely net a top-five finish rather than a third career plaque. Working on a limited pitch count, Kluber had mixed results in his final regular-season outing of 2018, walking away with a no-decision before the Tribe’s bullpen concerns returned. View Full Game Coverage

Relief ace Andrew Miller and late-inning reliever Cody Allen combined to allow six runs across the sixth and seventh innings to help the Royals pull away. Both relievers have endured trying seasons, but they saw progress throughout the month of September. Over the past two games, though, the issues returned in the form of 10 combined runs allowed.

Against Royals righty Jakob Junis, the Indians managed three runs over six innings.

Tribe slugger Jose Ramirez also launched a solo homer off reliever Kevin McCarthy in the eighth, marking the 39th shot of the season for the second baseman. Ramirez, who finished the night a triple shy of a cycle, entered the game batting .164 with one homer in 35 games dating back to Aug. 19, when his season average last stood at .300.

Kluber ended with six strikeouts and two walks in the performance, giving him 222 strikeouts vs. 34 walks on the season across his 33 starts. Overall, he finishes the regular season 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA in an AL-leading 215 innings. Kluber‘s 4.0-percent walk rate is the lowest mark in the AL and his 5.6 WAR (per Fangraphs) ranks sixth overall.

"Innings pitched is important," Kluber said. "I think that’s a reflection of being able to take the ball every fifth day or being able to work deep in the games, and hopefully give your team a chance to win. I think there’s value in that. I don’t think that it’s the be all, end all, but I think it’s important to be able to log a lot of innings."

Miller unravels: Heading into the game against the Royals, Miller had a 2.37 ERA with 21 strikeouts against five walks in 19 innings, dating to Aug. 1. The lefty has looked solid in September, but he encountered a setback in the sixth. With two out, Miller issued a walk and then yielded four consecutive hits, including a three-run homer to Adalberto Mondesi and an RBI single to Ryan O’Hearn. The five hits were the most allowed by Miller in a single appearance since Sept. 8, 2011, when he was a starting pitcher for the Red Sox.

Error in judgment: With two out, runners on the corners and Cleveland holding a 3-1 lead in the fourth, Merrifield lined a pitch from Kluber to right field. Cabrera broke in on the ball, tried to correct his route and then made a jumping attempt to catch the ball. On a play with a 99-percent catch probability, per Statcast™, the ball struck Cabrera’s glove and fell to the grass, allowing two runs to score on what was ruled a game-tying double.

All-Star catcher Yan Gomes left Saturday night’s game in the third inning after hitting his right hand on Alex Gordon’s bat. With none out, Mondesi attempted to steal second and Gordon swung at the pitch from Kluber. Gomes came up firing, hitting his throwing hand at full force as Gordon’s bat lingered behind him on his backswing. Gomes immediately exited the game and was replaced by backup Roberto Perez. The Indians announced that Gomes sustained a right thumb contusion and laceration, but X-rays came back negative for any structural damage. More >

"I think we kind of dodged a bullet there," Francona said. "He got a couple stitches, but it’s just a contusion and the doctors feel like in a couple days, he’ll get the swelling out of there and all that stuff. He could play with the stitches, but I think they think they can have them out of there by Tuesday or Wednesday. Again, I’m sure he’s going to be sore for a few days, but it looks like he’s going to be OK."

Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco (16-10, 3.42 ERA) will get the ball for the regular-season finale at 3:15 p.m. ET on Sunday against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Carrasco is scheduled to throw around 80 pitches in order to allow Trevor Bauer to enter in relief and build up his pitch count prior to the American League Division Series. Kansas City will counter with lefty Eric Skoglund (1-5, 5.40 ERA).