Cabrera, Tigers edge Cleveland, 5-4 in extras
Choosing to pitch to Miggy proves costly as it leads to the game's deciding run
CLEVELAND—Pick your poison.
Deadlocked in a 4-4 tie in the tenth inning with a runner on second, Indians manager Terry Francona decided for Cody Allen (3-2, 2.78 ERA) to pitch to baseball’s best hitter with first base open.
Some may certainly say so.
But when Victor Martinez is hitting behind Miguel Cabrera, either slugger can bring just as much venom.
“That’s exactly what it is,” Allen said. “You got Miguel Cabrera who is the best hitter any of us has faced being a back-to-back MVP winner. And you have Victor who is just as deadly, so it all starts with getting the guys out in front of them.”
And that’s exactly what led to the Tigers 5-4 victory over the Tribe Saturday night, not being able to keep runners off the bases when Cabrera and Martinez came to the plate.
Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler led off the tenth with a single off Allen and was sacrificed over to second by Austin Jackson. Two pitches later, Cabrera lined a double off the wall in left field to give the Tigers the game’s deciding run.
“The one guy that if you’re going to take a shot is Cody with his stuff,” Francona said. “He was trying to go up and in and it was down the middle. When you have a open base, you kind of choose who you want to face cause you’d rather not face both of them. Sometimes you have to get them out.”
Winning four of the first five meetings against Detroit, Cleveland (37-38) has now dropped two straight against their division foes in the three-game series.
For the second straight night it was Martinez that gave the Motor City Kitties the first run of the ballgame, belting a solo home run off Tribe starter Trevor Bauer in the second inning.
It was already the fourth time the former Indians catcher has homered against his old club this season, giving him a .369 average in 53 career games lifetime versus Cleveland.
Bauer held tough throughout the entire ballgame, yielding just two runs through his first six innings of work. It was the seventh inning though that proved costly for the 23 year-old right-hander. Getting one out, Bauer hung a two strike breaking ball to outfielder Rajai Davis that he slammed to the home run porch to give Detroit a one run lead.
Then, it was Kinsler’s turn, launching a long ball of his own just over the left field wall to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead in the seventh.
“I made a bad pitch to Rajai Davis,” Bauer said. “I was trying to bounce a curveball and I hung it. The only pitch I’m really upset about was the one to Rajai.”
Losing his bid for his fifth quality outing, Bauer still was able to pitch at least six innings for the sixth time in eight starts this season. He went 6 1/3 innings allowing four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out five.
“I felt good all night and felt I maintained my stuff all night,” Bauer said. “I think the one that Kinsler hit was 96 MPH so it wasn’t a lack of stuff, it was lack of execution. They’re a good team they hit well.”
Offensively, Indians bats battled and fought their way back into the ballgame in front of a sellout crowd. The 40,712 in attendance marked the first non-Opening Day sold out game at Progressive Field since July 5, 2013, also against Detroit.
“It was fantastic,” Allen said of the crowd. “The last two nights were great. It’s nice playing in front of a crowd like that, and unfortunately, we haven’t been able to pull out a win for them.”
Facing six-time All-Star Justin Verlander for the third time this year, the Tribe took a 2-1 lead off the right-hander when Carlos Santana launched a solo homer off the Tigers starter in the fourth inning.
Since June 6, Santana is now hitting .340 (18-for-53) with five homers and 12 RBI.
Trailing by two runs late, Cleveland kept battling cutting the deficit to one run on a RBI double by Asdrubal Cabrera in the eighth before tying the game on a RBI base-hit by Michael Bourn.
“We’re tough like that,” Bauer said. “We don’t give in, and we battle throughout the game. I was pretty confident we would at least get some guys on and make it tough, coming back to give ourselves a chance to win it.”
Going 3-for-5 in the ballgame, Cabrera had a chance to win it with the winning run on second and two outs, but grounded out to end the ninth inning rally against Detroit closer Joe Nathan.
“We had some really good at-bats to get that tying run,” Francona said. “I think we made Nathan throw 30 pitches.”
The Tribe however would be overmatched in the bottom of the tenth against southpaw reliever Phil Coke, who picked up his first save striking out the side in the bottom of the tenth to seal the victory.
Winning their tenth straight game at home Monday, the club has now fallen in three of their last four contests at Progressive Field.
Up next for Indians: Dropping two straight to their Central Division rivals, the Tribe will try and avoid a three-game sweep from the Tigers on Sunday. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (4-4, 3.86 ERA) gets the start against 2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (8-3, 3.84 ERA) at 1:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Detroit #2 O in MLB Team BA .273
Cleveland #13 Team BA .256
Cleveland HR Rank #14
Fielding Rank #30 (last)
Pitching #23 rank
Now is it really a surprise when we lost to good teams?