(SportsNetwork.com) - Corey Kluber takes another crack at his first win of the season on Tuesday when the Cleveland Indians continue a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Progressive Field.
Kluber's miserable season continued on Thursday in Kansas City, as the American League Cy Young Award winner was roughed up for five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to fall to 0-5 on the year to go along with a 5.04 ERA.
In his past four starts, Kluber has a 7.43 ERA, yielding 38 hits and 19 earned runs in 23 innings.
"I thought it was a step in the right direction, as far as keeping guys off- balance and mixing in and out better and not just kind of sticking to the same spot over and over again," said Kluber, who won 18 games a year ago. "Aside from those first four batters, I thought it was better. Obviously, it's still not exactly where we want to be, but it's a step in the right direction."
Regardless, Kluber joined Frank Viola (1989) and Zack Greinke (2010) as the only reigning Cy Young Award winners to go without a win in the first seven starts of their follow-up campaign.
Getting the call for the Cardinals will be veteran righty John Lackey, who is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA. Lackey was terrific on Thursday against the Chicago Cubs, as he held them to a run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings. He also struck out 10 batters and even helped himself at the plate with an RBI double.
"I feel like it's kind of been building the last couple starts," Lackey said. "Today was probably the best I've felt so far."
Lackey has split 16 decisions versus the Indians with a 3.94 ERA in 19 starts.
St. Louis drew first blood in this interleague set on Tuesday, as Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer and drove in four to propel the Cardinals to an 8-3 win.
Mark Reynolds had three hits, including a two-run single, and Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter returned after missing four games because of fatigue to contribute two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
"Something that we have done well lately is keep pitching, keep scoring runs late in games," Holliday said.
St. Louis snapped a two-game losing streak and improved its MLB-best record to 23-9.
Lance Lynn (2-3) threw six shutout innings to pick up his first win since April 15. The only Cardinals starter with a losing record had nine strikeouts and gave up four hits and four walks on his 28th birthday.
Jason Kipnis had three hits for the Indians, who have dropped four of their last five.
Carlos Carrasco (4-3) had seven strikeouts but took the loss after giving up four runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"Sometimes you will struggle, but we are going to come back," Carrasco said. "What we need to do is keep working."
This is the first series between these teams since the 2012 season.