Right-hander Corey Kluber, the Indians' most pleasant surprise this season, entered his All-Star break with plenty of momentum.

Kluber allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings as the Tribe defeated the Royals, 3-0, Friday night at Progressive Field. All runs scored in the seventh. The Indians, who notched their American League-leading 12th shutout, have won four of six and are 49-44. Kansas City slipped to 43-47.

Kluber crafted his second consecutive strong start. On July 7 against Detroit, he allowed two runs and struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision as the Indians prevailed, 9-6.

Against the Royals, Kluber walked three and struck out eight. He finished the pre-All-Star "half'' at 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 17 appearances (15 starts). Last year with Cleveland, Kluber went 2-5 with a 5.14 ERA in 12 starts.

Kluber, 27, underwent right-knee surgery last November. He came to spring training as just another pitcher competing for a roster spot. He did not make it and began the season at Class AAA Columbus. He joined the Tribe in mid-April.

Indians manager Terry Francona, asked if he had foreseen in spring training what Kluber has delivered, said: "No.''

Of his performance to date, Kluber said: "I wouldn't say I'm surprised because I've always had confidence in myself.''

Kluber needed to be sharp because his counterpart gave up next to nothing. Royals left-hander Bruce Chen, whose assortment of mid-to-high-80s fastballs and changeups periodically has befuddled Cleveland through the years, was at it again. He did not give up a hit and walked one through four innings.

Carlos Santana led off the Tribe fifth with double to right. Santana stayed at second because Mark Reynolds struck out on an 88-mph "heater,'' and Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles flied to right.

Chen retired the side in order in the sixth. Fortunately for the Indians, he was making his first start of the season after 19 relief appearances and pitch count ran him down. His six innings required 97.

"I've seen him do that for so many years,'' Francona said. "He adds a little, takes a little off. Up, down. Different angles. He frustrated us.''

Lefty Tim Collins relieved to begin the seventh. That's when the Indians' party started, if only because Collins threw harder than Chen.

Jason Kipnis led off with a single and moved to second on Nick Swisher's single. Righty Aaron Crow came in to face Santana, who singled up the middle. Third-base coach Brad Mills gambled by sending Kipnis with center fielder Jarrod Dyson picking up the ball in shallow center. The throw to catcher Salvador Perez arrived with time to spare, but Kipnis eluded the swipe tag and made a nifty left-hand slap of the plate.