CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber was short and succinct. He pitched the same way.
Kluber gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and allowed back-to-back shots to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez in the third Monday before getting pulled as the Indians were roughed up 12-1 by the Detroit Tigers, who pounded out a season-high 20 hits in winning the series opener.
With the Tigers leading 5-1, Indians manager Terry Francona took the ball from Kluber (13-9), who lost his third start in a row after going 6-0 over eight starts.
Normally stoic, but usually obliging with reporters, Kluber didn’t feel the need to explain his outing.
“I feel fine,” he said.
Asked why if he’s had problems with Cabrera and Martinez, Kluber was blunt.
“They’re good hitters,” he said, “and if you make mistakes to them they usually take advantage of it.”
Kluber’s interview session lasted barely one minute. His start was equally brief.
He allowed seven hits and five runs in 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing this season and his streak of allowing four earned runs or fewer ended at 27 games.
David Price (13-10) bounced back from an alarming start as the Tigers slowed the Indians’ climb in the standings.
Price gave up one run and eight hits in seven innings. The left-hander was coming off a troubling loss to New York in which he allowed nine consecutive hits in one inning and eight runs over two. Price called the Aug. 27 performance “probably the worst game I’ve ever had in my life.”
But he was more like himself against the sleepy Indians, who had won six of seven to get within 3½ games of first in the AL Central.
“He’s a little bit different than he used to be in that he can now sink his fastball,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s been pitching for a while now and he knows what he’s doing. We had hits, but it’s hard. He’s really good.”
The Indians didn’t arrive home until 3:15 a.m. after their Sunday night game in Kansas City was suspended in the 10th inning because of storms. The Tigers tried to put them to sleep early.
Cabrera gave Detroit a quick 2-0 lead with his 18th homer — and first since Aug. 2. Ian Kinsler led off with a soft liner down the right-field line that outfielder Mike Aviles missed with a poorly timed dive, playing what should have been a single into a triple and slamming his face in the grass.
One out later, Cabrera drilled his first homer over the left-field wall to give Price some early padding. Cabrera has worn out Kluber during his career, batting .567 with four homers and nine RBIs against the right-hander.
The Indians responded with a run in their first at-bat as Michael Brantley singled with two outs and scored on Carlos Santana’s double.
Kluber induced inning-ending double plays to end the first and second, but wasn’t so fortunate in the third when Aviles couldn’t help him again.
Cabrera hit a sinking liner with two outs that Aviles didn’t see initially and had glance off his glove. Victor Martinez followed by a hitting on 0-2 pitch over the wall in right-center for his 28th homer. J.D. Martinez then hit his 18th, giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead.
Aviles told the Indians he felt nauseous and was replaced in the fourth. Francona said Aviles passes the concussion test, but will be re-evaluated Tuesday.
Francona was asked if Aviles’ dizziness may have contributed to him not catching Cabrera’s ball.
“It didn’t help,” he said.
Kluber has been tremendous for the Indians during season’s second half, and Francona took him out to get extra rest for his next start.
“Klubes could have stayed out there and battled,” Francona said. “We’ll have him come back in five days and not have to work harder than he has.”
SEASON SERIES: Despite the loss, the Indians are 7-6 against the Tigers. Cleveland was only 4-15 versus Detroit a year ago.
ZACH ATTACK: Indians RHP Zach McAllister made his first career relief appearance and allowed two runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Indians: DH Jason Giambi was activated from the 60-day disabled list after being sidelined since June 12 with knee soreness. The 43-year-old, who gave up his No. 25 so Jim Thome could retire in it earlier this year, is wearing No. 72, the first number he wore breaking in with Oakland in 1993.
Carlos Carrasco, who has yet to lose in four starts since rejoining Cleveland’s rotation, will face Kyle Lobstein, making his second career start.