Tribe turns to Kluber against Royals

( - After a rough start to the season, Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber is finally hitting his stride.

The American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner eyes a fourth straight winning decision on Wednesday when the Indians continue a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Kluber opened his season by losing five straight decisions. However, he has allowed one run or less in three of his four starts since and has sliced his ERA down to 3.52. His latest win came on Thursday in Seattle, as he held the Mariners to three runs and seven hits and struck out 13 batters over seven innings.

"He works so hard. He doesn't run out of gas," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "His last pitch was probably his best fastball of the night. He's kind of built himself so he can go out and do what he needs to do for as long as he needs to."

Kansas City has banged Kluber around twice already this season to the tune of nine earned runs in 12 innings. He is 4-3 lifetime against the Royals, though, with a 3.48 ERA in 11 starts.

Getting the call for Kansas City on Wednesday will be lefty Jason Vargas, who is 3-2 with a 5.16 ERA. Vargas had beaten the Indians in back-to-back starts before falling last Tuesday in New York, as he allowed a pair of runs and four hits in just four innings.

Vargas is 5-3 in 11 starts versus the Tribe with a 5.16 ERA.

Cleveland continued to roll in Tuesday's opener, as Michael Brantley's eighth- inning single knocked in the deciding run in a somewhat controversial 2-1 victory.

Brantley's two-out hit off Wade Davis came shortly after Jose Ramirez was ruled safe on a potential double-play grounder, with the close call upheld following an unsuccessful challenge from the Royals.

The run was the first allowed by Davis (2-1) in 23 innings of work this season, and ultimately sent slumping Kansas City to a sixth loss in seven games.

Resurgent Cleveland has now prevailed in 11 of its last 14, with Carlos Carrasco turning in a third straight winning start with seven strong innings and Brandon Moss going 3-for-4 with a solo homer to pace the offense.

"This was an all-around team win," said Brantley. "We got key contributions from all parts of the game, and this is a huge one for us to win it like this."

Carrasco (7-4) held the Royals to five hits and struck out eight.

"We were battling but it was a pitchers duel tonight," said Eric Hosmer, who knocked in Kansas City's lone run. "We just have to find a way to produce some more runs because we're obviously not doing it right now."

Despite Tuesday's loss, Kansas City has won four of seven from the Indians this season.