CLEVELAND -- The spotlight was fixed on Sonny Gray on Thursday for his Yankees debut, but Indians ace Corey Kluber quickly pulled it back in his direction. Kluber's complete-game gem led Cleveland to its eighth straight home win, a 5-1 victory at Progressive Field.
Acquired by New York from Oakland prior to Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Gray logged six solid innings, but he was outpitched by Kluber and undone by a trio of first-inning errors by the Yankees. In his first outing for New York, Gray was charged with four runs (two earned) with six strikeouts and three walks.
"That guy, when he's on, he's tough to handle," Gray said of Kluber. "He was on tonight. When he's got those breaking balls and he's throwing that comeback fastball, he really is tough to handle."
Cleveland's two-run first inning proved enough for Kluber, whose lone blemish in his complete game was a solo homer by Gary Sanchez in the seventh. The right-hander ended with 11 strikeouts, marking the 11th time this season (10th in the past 12 starts) that Kluber reached double digits.
"Klubes just took over," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He knows what he wants to do, and he works so hard where he's able to do it. He keeps himself in great shape. He doesn't get tired. It's fun to watch. It's nice when you get some runs to spread it a little bit out, so you can enjoy it a little bit."
Kluber also joined Randy Johnson (four times), Pedro Martinez (twice) and Nolan Ryan (once) as the only pitchers since at least 1913 with eight or more strikeouts in at least 12 straight starts. Johnson was the last to achieve the feat with a 17-game run between the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
"That's kind of crazy, isn't it?" Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "It's really awesome. We came up from Triple-A together in 2013, and I've been fortunate enough to catch him. It's crazy seeing his development. Every year, he seems to surprise everyone."
Kluber's support came via a run-scoring single in the first from Jose Ramirez, a two-run double in the sixth from Gomes and a solo homer from Francisco Lindor in the seventh. Lindor's blast (his 18th of the season) came off Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Chasing the ball: In his first 11 games at first base for the Yankees this season, Chase Headley had been reliable, making zero errors and recording one Defensive Run Saved. His first-inning misplay on a routine grounder from Bradley Zimmer, however, set an unfortunate tone for a three-error inning. Zimmer reached after Headley couldn't corral the chopper in time, and the Yanks' defense helped the Tribe to a pair of quick runs against Gray.
"Certainly not the way you want to start," Headley said. "You get a really good pitcher on our side, and we just didn't play well behind him to start the game. Obviously when you're going against a guy like Corey Kluber, who had as good stuff as I've seen him have, you get behind and that's tough to come back from."
"We caught a couple breaks early," Francona said. "But saying that, Zim gets down the line hard."
Yan's insurance shot: With two outs in the sixth inning, and Cleveland still clinging to its 2-0 advantage, Carlos Santana drew a walk and Brandon Guyer followed with a single. That set things up for Gomes, who drilled the first pitch he received from Gray off the 19-foot wall in left field for a two-run double. That helped spread out Cleveland's lead after Gray had locked up the Tribe's lineup over the previous four frames.
"That was obviously a big point in the game," Kluber said. "To double the lead gives us that much more breathing room. I gave up the home run the next inning, so 4-1 is a lot easier to work with than 2-1. When [Gomes] got to second base, you could see how pumped up he was -- and he should be. That was a big moment."
"I feel like I threw the ball OK," Gray said. "At the same time, if I can shut that sixth inning down, it's a completely different ballgame. It's just one of those things that kind of got away from me for a couple of hitters. They took advantage. It gave them all the momentum for the last three innings."
"It's cool. All three are guys I grew up watching and idolizing. So to be mentioned with them is definitely an honor, and it's cool." -- Kluber, on achieving something only Johnson, Martinez and Ryan had accomplished
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With his strikeout of Brett Gardner in the sixth inning, Kluber moved out of a tie with Gary Bell and into sole possession of eighth place on the Indians' all-time career strikeouts list with 1,105.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Left-hander Jaime Garcia (5-7, 4.29 ERA) will make his Yankees debut on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET in the second game of a four-game series against the Indians. Garcia was acquired from the Twins on July 29 in exchange for two Minor League pitchers and made just one start with Minnesota. He began the season with the Braves, where he was 4-7 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts.
Indians: The Indians will send right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA) to the mound for Friday's tilt against the Yankees at Progressive Field. Bauer was slated to start on Wednesday against Boston, but inclement weather postponed the game. He is coming off an eight-inning, one-run performance against the Angels on July 27.