Brantley Homers, Damon Returns, Tribe Wins In Motown; Indians 9, Tigers 6
By Evan Matsumoto
When somebody calls, you answer. That’s exactly what Cleveland and Detroit did for nine innings as the Indians improved to 30-25 Wednesday night.
Cleveland’s 9-6 win was Jeanmar Gomez’s fourth win of the season, improving his record to 4-4 on the season, and left the Tribe one game out of first place in the A.L. Central.
Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 14 games after sending Max Scherzer’s first pitch to him out of the yard into the right field seats, scoring Shin-Soo Choo and a healthy Carlos Santana.
“It feels good. You want to make sure you swing at quality stirkes,” Brantley said after the game. “I was looking for a fastball early and I got it and I put a good swing on it.”
Gomez, with the help of Johnny Damon’s homerun stealing glove and Asdrubal Cabrera’s bare hand in the second, took a perfect game into the third inning before giving up a solo home run to Don Kelly in the bottom of the inning to give the Tigers their first run of the game.
Tribe batters roughed up Detroit’s Scherzer as his 70th pitch came in the fourth inning. Things didn’t get better for him from there.
Casey Kotchman took a 3-2 Scherzer pitch over the right field wall in the top of the fourth for a two-run homerun to put the Indians up 5-1.
The fourth homerun of the game came in the bottom of the fourth when Miguel Cabrera unloaded on Gomez’s 40th pitch of the night to close the gap to 5-2.
A resilient Cleveland answered quickly in the top of the fifth when Jason Kipnis snapped his 0-11 slump with an infield RBI single. Damon hit a two-run single over Jhonny Peralta’s head to score Asdrubal Cabrera and Kipnis to increase the Tribe’s lead to six runs.
Detroit, not to be outdone, put up four runs in the fifth inning on three doubles—two of them driving in a run—an RBI groundout, and a Fielder RBI single to left, who extended a hitting streak of his own to 13 games.
Choo took reliever Luis Marte’s second pitch for a ride to left, to record his third hit of the night, and was later driven in by Asdrubal Cabrera for the last run of the game to give the Tribe a 9-6 lead.
The Tribe’s bullpen took over from there. Tony Sipp, who relieved Gomez in the sixth, Joe Smith who entered in the seventh, and Vinnie Pestano in the eighth, each sat down their respective batters in order, tossing three perfect innings.
Closer Chris Perez, who leads the league in saves, extended his own streak to 19 consecutive saves, with his fastball topping out at 95 miles per hour. The bullpen retired 12 of 13 batters on 45 pitches with three strikeouts.
Gomez gave up seven hits on the night but five of those hits took extra bases; Kelly homered to right in the third, Miguel Cabrera copied him in the fourth, and Peralta, Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera doubled in the fifth.
Brantley’s homerun, his first of the season, extended his hitting streak to make it the longest active hitting streak in the American League and the longest Indian’s hitting streak since Trevor Crowe reached base safely in 13 consecutive games in September 2010. Brantley’s longest hitting streak is 19 games.
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images