Bob Gibson never did it. Neither did Sandy Koufax.
Corey Kluber struck out eight batters in the first three innings of the World Series. Using a fastball, slider, and a nasty cutter, the Cleveland Indians ace made history to start Game One of the Fall Classic. No pitcher had ever struck out eight through three in any postseason game in Major League Baseball prior to Kluber.
The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner struck out leadoff man Dexter Fowler and likely NL MVP Kris Bryant twice. He made Kyle Schwarber, fresh from the Arizona Fall League, look like a player fresh from the Arizona Fall League. The dominance contributed to an electric atmosphere at Progressive Field.
The Indians enjoyed some success off Chicago Cubs starter Jon Lester, who found himself in a first-inning jam in which Cleveland plated two and left the bases loaded. The Indians stranded two baserunners threatening in the third. Lester allowed four hits, walked three, and hit a batsman through three.
Both pitchers came into the series with ERAs below a run per game in the postseason.
“He’s executing in his pitches,” pitching coach Mickey Callaway told the Fox audience of Kluber. “He’s relaxed, calm. That’s really allowing him to get pitches where he wants them.”