CLEVELAND — Just the sight of Corey Kluber is normally enough to weaken and wobble the White Sox.
They finally toughened up against him.
Jose Abreu drove in three runs, Leury Garcia had four hits and Chicago knocked around Kluber for a change, beating Cleveland’s ace and the Indians 8-3 on Wednesday.
Abreu’s two-run double in the fourth inning chased Kluber (0-2), who had won nine straight decisions over Chicago dating four seasons. The two-time AL Cy Young winner has owned the White Sox, going 4-0 against them last season and 13-4 in his career.
But starting with Garcia’s single on the game’s first pitch, Kluber was in trouble and lasted only 3 1/3 innings while losing to Chicago for the first time since July 24, 2015.
“He really knows what he’s doing,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Our guys were able to take advantage of him trying to find his way.”
Kluber didn’t offer any excuses other than to say his mechanics were off, affecting his delivery.
“I don’t think it was much out of the usual the way teams attack me, I think I just didn’t do a good job of making good pitches,” he said. “I guess I didn’t make enough good pitches, too many balls either over the plate or kind of non-competitive where they just kind of spit on them.
“There was not enough good pitches.”
Carlos Rodon (1-1) made plenty of good ones while limiting the Indians to an unearned run and two hits over six innings. The left-hander settled down after a bumpy first and retired 12 straight and 14 of 15 before Jose Ramirez reached on an error in the sixth — one of three miscues for the White Sox.
Rodon never imagined taking the mound with a 3-0 lead against Kluber.
“I told someone after he came out, ’I feel bad for the next team that has to face him because he’s probably going to show up pretty well,” Rodon said.
Chicago’s Yoan Mocada hit a two-run homer in the eighth.
Hanley Ramirez connected for a two-run shot in the ninth. He has both of Cleveland’s homers this season.
At about the same time they were scoring three times off Kluber in the first, the White Sox announced that Thursday’s home opener against Seattle is being pushed to Friday because of a nasty weather forecast in Chicago.
Things got stormy right away for Kluber, who was down 3-0 after giving up two walks and three hits while throwing 36 pitches in the first, which included an early mound visit by pitching coach Carl Willis. Two innings later, it was manager Terry Francona’s turn and he took the ball from Kluber, who allowed just three runs in 28 innings against the White Sox last season.
“First pitch of the game is hit for a base hit and he’s pitching out of the stretch,” Francona said. “He never found a comfort zone. He scattered a lot of his fastballs, put him in some tough counts. You could tell he was fighting it.”
While his teammates struggle against Kluber, Abreu succeeds. He’s batting .340 (18 of 53) with five homers and 15 RBIs in his career against the right-hander.
“Good hitters like him, you leave the ball middle in, things aren’t going to work very well for you,” Kluber said.
Renteria applauded the decision to delay Thursday’s opener for one day.
“It’s still going to be a home opener,” he said. “It’s going to be as enjoyable for everybody I’m sure as we would want it to be. It’s a wise decision that the weather, is not supposed to be, I guess, very good. It makes better sense if the weather is going to be good the next three days, why not?”
PLENTY OF SEATS
The announced crowd of 10,689 was the smallest at Progressive Field since April 10 last season. A weekday matinee, chilly weather and the White Sox contributed to the lackluster turnout.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson is expected to return Friday following the birth of his daughter. Anderson left the club on Monday to be with his Bria. With Anderson on the paternity last, the club recalled RHP Jose Ruiz from Triple-A Charlotte.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Friday at Triple-A Columbus. Kipnis sustained a calf strain in the last week at spring training. The former All-Star batted a career-low .230 last season.
White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez will start the delayed home opener against the Mariners.
Indians: Open a four-game series Thursday against Toronto with RHP Trevor Bauer facing Aaron Sanchez. Bauer allowed one hit and struck out nine in seven innings last week at Minnesota.