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CLE@TB: Kluber fans nine in winning start

The Indians will send right-hander Corey Kluber to the mound on Wednesday night as he attempts to put an end to his team's recent woes on the road.

Cleveland has lost nine of its past 11 road games, and that will have to change soon if the Indians want to make a serious run in the American League Central.

Kluber is one of the rare Indians starting pitchers who has recently won on the road, coming off 6 2/3 innings in a victory over the Rays. He allowed just two runs while striking out nine and will be looking for more of the same against the Blue Jays.

"I've felt good out there recently, so I was trying to not really change anything," Kluber said. "Just go out there and continue to pound the strike zone and attack guys."

Dustin McGowan (2-1) will start for Toronto. He did not factor into the decision in the Blue Jays' loss to the Angels on Friday. He pitched five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

"I got through it," McGowan said. "But I didn't have my slider, so luckily the changeup got me through. It was one of those games where you give it everything you can and see what happens."

McGowan typically identifies as a strikeout pitcher, but the 32-year-old said that as a starter he's been conscious of pitching to more contanct rather than trying to beat hitters one-on-one.

"Starting is more about putting the ball in play," said McGowan, whose strikeouts per nine innings rate was 7.4 entering this season. Through seven starts, he's averaging 5.6. "The guys who strike out a lot of guys out usually run their pitch count up, so part of me is trying to make them [put it in play]. But I've got to do a better job of getting ahead 0-2, 1-2, putting guys away."

Blue Jays: Janssen makes his return
After making his return from the disabled list on Monday, Casey Janssen further alleviated some of Toronto's late-inning concerns on Tuesday night, converting his first save opportunity in a 5-4 win over the Indians.

The ninth had been a bit of an adventure for Toronto during Janssen's absence, as Sergio Santos, Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup all took turns in the closer's role.

"When he started closing, a couple of years ago, he's been almost perfect," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Janssen. "He was kind of forced into that role a couple of years ago when Santos went down and he's run with it. I mean, he's reliable.

"Early on in the season, we started out pretty good coming out of the 'pen closing some games and then we hit a rough spot. So it's definitely good to have him back. You kind of just eliminate that inning, thinking he's got the ninth."

Indians: With Kipnis out, Aviles comes through
Utility man Mike Aviles has filled in nicely for Cleveland since All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis landed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. Entering Wednesday, Aviles was hitting .417 (15-for-36) with four extra-base hits, five RBIs and six runs through 10 games in Kipnis' absence. Kipnis continues to make progress back in Cleveland.

"He's doing really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's hitting off a tee and stuff. They're starting to try to line up a program to return to play. He's still a little ways from that, but he's making good progress."

Worth noting
• This series is a homecoming of sorts for a pair of Cleveland's relievers. Canadian John Axford, a resident of Port Dover, Ontario, was making his first trip to Toronto as a visiting pitcher. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski, who pitched for the Blue Jays from 2009-11, is making his first trip to Toronto since being traded to the Cardinals mid-way through the '11 season.

• Entering this three-game series, the Indians were tied with the Braves and Tigers for the fewest home runs (24) allowed as a pitching staff. Cleveland might be tested by the Blue Jays' offense, which headed into Tuesday's game ranked first in the American League and second in the Majors with 52 home runs. Juan Francisco homered for the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

• The Blue Jays have homered in 17 of their 19 home games this season. Overall, Toronto has homered in 18 of its previous 21 games dating back to April 21. The club has outscored its opposition 35-19 over that same span.

• Jose Reyes tripled during the fourth inning of his club's 5-4 victory over the Indians on Tuesday night. It was his first triple in a Blue Jays uniform and his first since Oct. 2, 2012. He has reached base in 11 consecutive games and 11 of his 20 hits this season have gone for extra bases. Comments