Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox rightfully made Corey Kluber pay for acting like a tough guy on the mound

Alex Reimer
August 24, 2017 - 10:27 am

The Red Sox served Indians right-hander Corey Kluber his well-deserved comeuppance Wednesday. The 2014 American League Cy Young award winner was dealing, striking out 12 batters in nearly eight innings of one-run ball. But then, second baseman Eduardo Nunez swung the bat hard.  

One pitch later, Kluber drilled Nunez in the back.

It was a bizarre sequence, since Kluber was one out away from getting out of the frame. But Nunez took his base, advancing Brock Holt to second. Holt scored shortly afterwards, when Mookie Betts hit a single to left field. The Red Sox stretched their lead to two runs, giving them all of the insurance they needed in their 6-1 victory. 

Nunez also got his retribution in the ninth, when he smacked a two-run home run. 

There’s little doubt Kluber hit Nunez on purpose, considering the righty has some of the best control in the game. The timing –– and placement of the pitch –– also made Kluber’s apparent intention obvious. 

"No doubt in Sox clubhouse that Kluber drilled Nunez for swinging too hard," WEEI's John Tomase reported afterwards. "But also clear there's grudging respect for old-school approach." 

Instead of winning the game, Kluber was more concerned about enforcing some sort of antiquated baseball code. Nunez took a big swing at a meatball, and apparently, that means he must pay. 

The streaking Red Sox, who are now 16-4 in August, established themselves as legitimate World Series contenders Wednesday. They certainly carried themselves like champions in the eighth inning, making one of the best pitchers in baseball pay for his hard-headedness. The Red Sox sent Kluber a strong message, which might come in handy if the two teams meet again in October. 

This post has been updated.