Hunter leads Tigers to 9-4 win
Carrasco struggles again as Indians fall to 0-2 to open four-game series
With the loss, the Indians now trail the Tigers by 3.5 games in the American League Central. Detroit has won seven consecutive games over the Tribe, as they dominated for the second straight day at Progressive Field.
"We'll show up tomorrow," Indians manager Terry Francona said after the game. "We certainly need to do better against them. They're the team that is directly ahead of us and they've kind of had their way with us, but I don't think we'll show up tomorrow and not feel we're going to win. But we need to play better."
Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the third off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco to open up a 3-0 lead. Former Indian Victor Martinez followed with a double to deep right and scored on a single by Jhonny Peralta, who was tagged out trying to advance on the play.
Carrasco (0-4, 9.10) ran into trouble again in the fourth and would fail to escape. After Andy Dirks and Alex Avilaboth reached with singles to open the inning, Ramon Santiago put down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown away by Carrasco. Dirks scored on the play and the other runners advanced to second and third, still with no outs. Austin Jackson followed with a sacrifice fly to score Avila and Hunter doubled to score Santiago, stretching the Detroit lead to 7-1.
Following an intentional walk to Cabrera, Carrasco was finished, having allowed seven runs (six earned) in three and one-third innings. He surrendered 10 hits and a walk while he retired just 10 batters. He has now allowed six earned runs in back-to-back starts.
Rich Hill came on for the second straight game and retired the final two hitters in the inning. Matt Albers gave up a two-run homer to Hunter in the sixth, but finished the inning. Bryan Shaw, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perezcombined to hold the Tigers scoreless over the final three innings, working around four walks.
Anibal Sanchez (7-5, 2.70) was effective in his first start off the disabled list, allowing just one run in five innings of work. He surrendered just three hits, all consecutive in the third, while striking out four.
The lone run against Sanchez came in the third, when Lonnie Chisenhall singled to open the inning and advanced to third on a second single by Drew Stubbs. Michael Bourn followed with a RBI-infield single to second to pull the Indians to 4-1. Stubbs and Bourn were stranded at second and third, however, as Sanchez retired the next three hitters in order.
The Tribe picked up three more runs after the game was out of hand. Nick Swisher hit his ninth homer of the season, a solo shot, off Phil Coke in the sixth. Ryan Raburn hit a two-run homer in the ninth to pull the Indians within five runs, but Mike Aviles lined out to the end the game on the next play.
The Indians have now been outscored 16-4 in the first two games of the series. After the game, the Indians held a brief players' meeting to address the past two games.
"We're definitely not intimidated by them," said second baseman Jason Kipnis, whose hitting streak of 16 games was ended with a 0-for-4 performance. "We've just come out flat the last couple days and we're looking to change that. The pressure's not really on us, it's got to be on them and that's the way we've got to approach it."
Kipnis, along with starter Justin Masterson, was named to the American League All-Star team by Tigers managerJim Leyland. Following the game, Francona said both were good choices by the in-division rival.
"I knew all along that the process is what it is and I knew he would put his heart and soul and brains into it and try to do the best job that he could," said Francona, who managed the American League squad in 2005 and 2008. "Sometimes it's an impossible job, but knowing him I knew he would do the best he could for every team."
The Indians will look to pick up their first win of the series Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Corey Kluber (6-5, 4.33) will look to end the team's losing streak against Tigers right-hander Doug Fister (6-5, 3.80).
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.