The last two seasons have featured the top two teams in the NBA battling it out in the Finals, with each team taking one series apiece. Not much has changed heading into this third matchup, except the addition of Kevin Durant on the Golden State Warriors. That change played a major role in Game 1 on Thursday night, as Durant went off for 38 points in the Warriors' 113-91 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Steph Curry helped out with 28 points, including six three-pointers, as Golden State became the first team to begin the postseason 13-0. LeBron James is looking to bring back-to-back titles to Cleveland, but his 28 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists were not enough to get the advantage. Kyrie Irving had 24 points, while Kevin Love finished with 15 points and 21 rebounds, as the Cavs suffered their second defeat in this year's playoffs. Durant is participating in his second career Finals, looking for revenge on LeBron, who ruined his first appearance when the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012. The Warriors used their ball-handling skills to pull away, as they had a Finals-low four turnovers on the night. They will host Game 2 of the series on Sunday night.
Kluber Returns From DL, Shuts Down A's
The Cleveland Indians got their second outstanding outing since sending Danny Salazar to the bullpen, as Corey Kluber returned from the disabled list with a vengeance on Thursday. The right-hander struck out ten over six shutout innings en route to an 8-0 win over the Oakland Athletics. Kluber hadn't played since May 1st due to a strained lower back, but improved to 4-2 on the season with the win. The Indians supported him with a four-run sixth inning, which included three unearned runs against Jharel Cotton, who suffered his sixth loss for Oakland. The Athletics committed three errors on the afternoon to bring their season total to 55, which leads the majors. They also struck out 17 times in the game, and have done so 93 times over the past seven contests. Kluber took advantage of this stat to record his 26th career double-digit strikeout game. The Indians sit in a tie atop the AL Central with the Minnesota Twins, and will hit the road to battle the Kansas City Royals this weekend. Oakland's road trip does not get any easier beginning on Friday, as they will visit the first-place New York Yankees for three games.
Wainwright Homers, Shuts Out Dodgers
The St. Louis Cardinals found a way to salvage a series split with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they can thank Adam Wainwright for that one. The ace not only provided the offense with a two-run home run, but also shut the Dodgers out over six innings in a 2-0 victory. Wainwright allowed just four hits, struck out six, and walked two to improve to 6-3 on the season, as well as a perfect 3-0 in the month of May. This is after struggling in April with a 2-3 record and a 6.11 ERA. Matt Bowman, Trevor Rosenthal, and Seung Hwan Oh combined to shut out the final three innings, including Oh's 13th save in 15 chances. Wainwright's 10th career long ball came in the second inning, as he now has six hits and seven RBI this season. On the other side, Brandon McCarthy suffered his second loss despite allowing just two runs, but lasted just four innings due to a blister. He struck out six, walked just one, and surrendered seven hits before exiting. The Dodgers did lose both Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal, who were ejected in the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes. St. Louis heads to Wrigley this weekend to face off with the Chicago Cubs, while the Dodgers will be in Milwaukee matched up with the first-place Brewers.