Tigers Sweep Tribe Out of Divisional Race; Tigers 8, Indians 6
By Vince Guerrieri
The Indians are still mathematically alive in the American League Central, but that might be about it.
The Tribe got to Tigers ace Justin Verlander early, but Justin Masterson and the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead as Detroit came back to win 8-6 Wednesday afternoon to complete a three-game sweep of the Indians.
The sweep drops the Indians to third place in the Central, 9.5 games behind the Tigers and one game behind the White Sox, who play tonight at Minnesota. The Tribe is on their way to the Windy City, and will open a four-game series with the Pale Hose on Thursday. The Tigers’ magic number to clinch the Central is 12.
Victor Martinez, who hit the game-winning home run for the Tigers on Monday, blasted a grand slam off reliever Tony Sipp in the seventh inning to put the Tigers up 7-4. It was Martinez’s second career grand slam. Although Sipp gave up the home run, the runners on base were charged to starter Justin Masterson, who ended up taking the loss for the Tribe.
Two innings earlier, it was Masterson facing Martinez, the player he was traded for to come to the Indians, with the bases juiced and two outs. Masterson ended up getting Martinez to line out to second baseman Jason Donald, ending the scoring threat and retaining a 4-2 lead.
But he started to get into trouble in the seventh, giving up an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded, which they remained for Martinez, while Masterson was lifted for Sipp.
The Indians got all six runs thanks to three two-run homers. Shelley Duncan hit two, both off Verlander, for his second two home run game in four days. They were two of only three hits given up by Verlander, the prohibitive favorite for the American League Cy Young Award. Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Phil Coke to pull the Indians within one run, 7-6. But Don Kelly hit an RBI triple in the top of the ninth to add an insurance run for Detroit.
The Tigers have now won their last six games in a row. They have a day off tomorrow before starting a three-game series against the Twins on Friday at Comerica Park.
Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images