Scherzer Stymies Tribe Offense; Tigers 5, Indians 3
By Christian Petrila
For the seventh consecutive game, the Indians couldn’t break that magic number of three runs. For the fifth time in those seven games, they took the loss as Detroit won the second game of the three-game set, 5-2.
Detroit struck in the very first inning, taking advantage of Indians starter Derek Lowe’s inability to hit his spots. Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry both singled off of Lowe to lead off the game. Miguel Cabrera drove in Jackson and moved Berry to third with a single, but Cabrera was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. After hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch, Lowe limited the damage by striking out Delmon Young and getting Brennan Boesch to pop out.
The top of the second inning was a bad inning to be named “Cabrera.” After getting Jhonny Peralta to ground out to third, Alex Avila doubled off the wall in left center. Then the nightmare began. Omar Infante hit a routine grounder to shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it cleanly, but his throw to first forced Casey Kotchman off the bag. It didn’t get any better on the next play. Jackson grounded to short and Cabrera tried to make a tough throw to second while his momentum was carrying him into left. The throw wasn’t even remotely close to Jason Kipnis and slowly rolled into right field. Avila scored while Infante and Avila advanced to second and third respectively. Berry singled to left for the second time in as many innings to drive in Infante. The bad Cabrera inning ended when Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play to end the inning; and no, Asdrubal Cabrera was not involved on the play.
Manny Acta said that there was only one error in that half inning. He said that Kotchman’s foot was on the bag when he caught the ball, but “the human element didn’t help us tonight.”
With Indians fans already jumping ship and Twitter filled to the brim with disgruntled Wahoos, the team rewarded those who stuck around by making it a game again. Johnny Damon drew a leadoff walk for the Indians. Kotchman was up next and unloaded on a Max Scherzer pitch into the seats in right center. The next batter was Jack Hannahan, who struck out. The next batter was Shin Soo Choo who blistered a ball to right center, narrowly missing a home run. Asdrubal Cabrera’s struggles continued at the plate as Scherzer carved him up for his second strikeout of the Indians shortstop. Kipnis drew a walk after quickly falling behind 0-2 in the at bat. Michael Brantley put a very good swing on the ball and drove the right fielder Boesch all the way to the warning track, but it died just short of giving the Indians a 5-3 lead. Instead, it was still 3-2 Detroit after three.
Detroit got a run back in the fifth. Lowe walked the first three guys of the inning to load the bases. Fielder then practically threw his bat at a pitch well out of the strike zone that was deep enough to center for a sac fly. After Young singled to reload the bases, Boesch grounded into a fielder’s choice to Kotchman. The Indians first baseman went home with the throw, and Carlos Santana did a good job to corral the short hop to get Berry out at the plate. With the bases still loaded with two outs and boos raining down from the seats, Peralta grounded out to Hannahan to end the threat.
Detroit got more insurance in the next inning. Avila led off the inning with a single to right. The Tigers then went for a hit-and-run as Infante grounded out to third, advancing Avila to second. On the next play, Infante moved once again on a Jackson ground out. Berry was the next hitter, and he improved to 3-3 with an RBI single to left that made it 5-2. Miguel Cabrera flew out to right to end the inning.
That was the last inning Lowe would pitch. His final line was six innings pitched while allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits. He also struck out one and walked three.
Scherzer, his counterpart, pitched extremely well. He went seven innings while allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out eight and walked four.
Travis Hafner’s ninth inning home run made the final score look a little better, but it still wasn’t enough for the Wahoos.
“We had to play catch-up baseball from the get-go, and that’s never good,” Acta said.
Acta also said that pitching for the Indians is a priority, and that they were working on acquiring a pitcher.
The loss drops the Indians back to .500 with a 49-49 record. The Tigers improve to 53-45 and remain tied for first in the AL Central.
Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak