Tigers pounce on fading Indians with 10-5 win
Detroit, MI - The Cleveland offense finally came to life but the Tribe bullpen failed to keep Detroit off the board late, as Tigers beat the Indians 10-5 Saturday night at Comerica Park.
With the loss, the Indians have lost five in a row, including the first two of a three-game series against Detroit. The Tigers now lead in the American League Central by 8.5 games. Cleveland is now five games behind in the AL Wild Card.
Even without slugger Miguel Cabrera, out due to an abdominal injury, the Tigers offense was potent. Detroit exploded for 10 runs, scoring multiple runs in three separate innings en route to their third straight victory.
Scott Kazmir (7-7, 4.36) took the loss after giving up four runs in the second inning. With the Indians leading 1-0,Victor Martinez opened the inning with a single and advanced to second a walk. Omar Infante drove in both runners with a no-doubt, three-run home run to left, putting the Tigers up 3-1. Kazmir got two outs in the inning with two punch outs with back-to-back singles in between, but a Torii Hunter RBI-single drove in a fourth run before the inning came to an end.
After the rocky second inning, Kazmir retired the next nine Tigers in order. In all, he allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. He has now lost three of his last four starts.
The Tribe offense stayed in reach of the Tigers, despite facing Anibal Sanchez (12-7, 2.68), a pitcher that has owned Cleveland in his career.
Trailing 4-1 in the fifth, the Indians continued to slowly work for runs against Sanchez who has posted an American League best 2.68 ERA on the season. Asdrubal Cabrera opened the inning with an infield single and advanced to third on a single by Jason Giambi. After the next two hitters failed to drive in Cabrera from third, Bourn singled to right, making the score 4-2.
Yan Gomes hit a solo homer off Sanchez in the seventh, his ninth of the season, though the Indians still trailed 6-3.
With the Gomes blast, Sanchez was done. Sanchez finished having allowed three earned runs on six hits and a walk in six and two-thirds innings of work. He struck out five.
With Jason Kipnis on second after a one-out double in the eighth, Santana hit an inside-the-park, two-run homer to center, making the score 6-5. The ball glanced off center fielder Austin Jackson, who was injured after slamming into the wall. Jackson remained in the game after being checked out by Tigers manager Jim Leyland and trainers.
The Tigers took back control of the game in the bottom half of the eighth, however, scoring four runs while batting around against three different Indians relievers.
Detroit's four runs in the eighth came on a two-run triple by Jackson, Jose Iglesias' squeeze sacrifice bunt, and a RBI-double by Prince Fielder. Cleveland relievers Matt Albers and Cody Allen each allowed two earned runs in one-third of an inning. Marc Rzepczynski retired the final batter of the inning after allowing two hits and walking one.
Cleveland will look to win the final game of the series Sunday afternoon at 1:08 p.m. Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.73) will look to lead the Tigers to a sweep against Indians rookie starter Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.67).
Notes: According to ESPN, Carlos Santana's inside-the-park home run was calculated at 425 feet, the longest inside-the-park home run since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006. Santana's hit would have left 26 MLB parks. … The Detroit Tigers have won 15 games this year against Cleveland, marking the most wins over the Indians since 1960.
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.