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CLE@MIN: Kluber strikes out seven over five innings

As the Indians return home to face the Rangers on Friday following a tough road trip, they'll turn to right-hander Corey Kluber, who left his last start, at Minnesota, after five innings due to tightness in his left hip and upper left hamstring.

Despite leaving early, Kluber kept the Twins scoreless and allowed only three hits and two walks while striking out seven. The Indians' bullpen surrendered three runs in the sixth to set up the Twins' 3-2 win.

Even the morning after the issue, the Indians were confident Kluber would be ready for his next start.

"It's a little sore still, but nothing that's to the same extent as last night," Kluber said on Sunday. "It's something I can pitch through. It was just a precautionary move."

In 16 starts this season, Kluber is 7-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 16 starts. He has struck out 101 batters and walked 24.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to toe the rubber for the Rangers in the first of three games at Progressive Field. Perez, 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA, will make his eighth start of the season.

A return home might just be what the Indians' defense needs.

Having committed nine errors on its six-game road trip, Cleveland found itself giving up costly runs that led to a 2-4 record in that stretch. The Indians won each series finale -- first at Minnesota, then Seattle.

Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall sits at the center of the issue, having made four errors in four games. He didn't play in Wednesday's 10-1 win over the Mariners, but the team was charged with two more at the hands of Asdrubal Cabrera and Mark Reynolds. Regardless, Chisenhall isn't going to let his fielding woes get to him.

"I feel fine -- third base is a tough position," Chisenhall said on Wednesday morning. "You're going to get errors that you don't have any control over. Some balls are going to hit off your shoulder. Balls are going to hit off your shins. You can't control a lot of that stuff.

"I'll go out there and continue to take my ground balls and get my work in."

The Rangers enter the weekend series looking up at Oakland in the American League West standings. Texas is 8-8 against the AL Central this season, and Cleveland is 13-4 against the AL West, including 2-1 against the Rangers.

Rangers: Andrus finding groove
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, re-energized by his return to the No. 2 spot in the batting order, extended his hitting streak to seven games in Thursday's 2-0 loss to the Yankees. In those seven contests, the 24-year-old is batting .360 (9-for-25), lifting his overall average to .249.

"Now in the second half, I feel way better," Andrus said. "I feel my approach is back. I feel comfortable having a plan, and now I can execute it."

Manager Ron Washington remains confident that Andrus will hit consistently.

"I might've seen an anxious guy, but I've never seen him not relaxed," Washington said. "He's been working his butt off, and hopefully it comes together, because he can do it."

Indians: Pitching stellar in July
The Indians' starting rotation headed into Wednesday's game with a 2.15 ERA and a .194 opponents' batting average over 12 games, dating to July 7. Through the first five games of the trip, the Tribe's pitching staff had a 1.98 ERA.

Scott Kazmir continued that trend by throwing eight one-hit innings in Wednesday's win. Kazmir has won his last three decisions.

"[Kazmir] had great life on his fastball -- location and command of it -- and that made his secondary stuff even better," said Mariners bench coach Robby Thompson. "His velocity was way up, probably four to five mph from when we saw him before."

Worth noting
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has gone 78 plate appearances without striking out. His 17-game stretch without a strikeout is the longest streak in the Majors.

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