Tribe Sees Victory Slide Right Through Their Fingers; Tigers 10, Indians 8
By Christian Petrila
The nightmare just continues for the Indians.
They dropped their ninth straight game in gut-wrenching fashion as Detroit came from behind time and time again to beat the Indians 10-8.
The Indians – yes, the Indians – scored in the very first inning. Jason Kipnis popped up to shortstop in his third consecutive game in the leadoff spot. Asdrubal Cabrera then hustled to beat out a double just in front of the throw from Tigers’ center fielder Austin Jackson. After Shin-Soo Choo struck out, Carlos Santana drew a walk against Detroit starter Max Scherzer. With two outs, Michael Brantley tapped a single in the hole between short and third to score Cabrera. Travis Hafner got a two-out hit of his own when he blooped a single into left to score Santana. The threat ended when Scherzer struck out Ezequiel Carrera to retire the side.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the frame with weak hits that were perfectly placed. Austin Jackson led off with a single to center off of Chris Seddon, who was making his Indians debut and first Major League start since 2007 and appearance since 2010. Omar Infante followed that up with a little bloop job that dropped just inside the foul line in shallow right. Miguel Cabrera followed that with a little roller that barely made it halfway to first. Santana picked up the ball and tagged Cabrera for the first out. Prince Fielder then made the most solid contact of the inning when he roped an RBI single to center. He may have hit the ball too hard, though, as it got to Brantley in such a hurry that onlyJackson was able to score. Seddon then put out the flames by getting Delmon Young to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Speaking of flames, there was a fire that went to four alarms in the bottom of the second. Gerald Laird grounded out to Seddon, who appeared to put the tag on Laird when he slid into first. Laird felt that Seddon missed the tag and began barking at first base umpire Sam Holbrook. Holbrook ejected the Tigers catcher, despite being a good distance away from the Tigers dugout. Jim Leyland came out to defend his catcher, but home plate umpire Joe West – no stranger to criticism from fans – ejected Leyland when the Tigers skipper went back to the dugout. Suddenly, the Tigers had lost their manager and were forced to put Alex Avila in at catcher despite planning on giving him the day off.
Run number three for the Indians came in the top of the third. Asdrubal Cabrera flew out to Jacksonin center field. Choo was next, and he stayed back on a pitch and elevated up and over the fence in left field for his 13th home run of the year. After Santana also flew out to center, Brantley smashed a double off the wall in right that narrowly missed going over. The threat ended, however, when Hafner struck out.
Detroit got that run back right away. Jackson led off with a triple to right-center field. Seddon got Infante to pop out to Brent Lillibridge at third. Miguel Cabrera roped a ball to first, but Santana made a diving stop. Jackson would score to make it 3-2, but Santana’s dive prevented Cabrera from getting a double or even possibly a triple. Fielder would pop out to Kipnis at second to end the inning.
The Tigers finally got even in the fourth. Young led off with a foul out to Santana at first. Seddon walked Peralta, who moved to second after Brennan Boesch grounded out to Lillibridge, who made a nice barehanded play at third. Avila– the player who was supposed to get the day off – grounded a base hit through the left side just out of Cabrera’s reach. Carrera’s throw to the plate was off line and Avila advanced to second on the throw.Detroit wouldn’t manage any more runs, however, as Danny Worth walked and Jackson struck out swinging.
Cleveland retook the lead in the fifth. Kipnis led off with a fly out to deep left. Cabrera came up and laced a single to right. He stole second as Choo struck out for the second out. With Santana batting, Cabrera stole third uncontested. Santana roped a single to right to give the Indians a 4-3 lead. Brantley then doubled to move Santana to third. The two-out rally would fizzle as Hafner struck out to retire the side.
That would be the end of the line for Scherzer, who pitched five innings and allowed four runs on 10 hits. He had the Indians equally confused, however, as he had nine strikeouts as well.
In an all-too-familiar turn of events, Detroit came right back. Infante led off the inning by demolishing a pitch into the seats in left for his first home run since being acquired by Detroit. Seddon walked Cabrera on four pitches before Fielder laced one to left center that Carrera managed to run down for the first out. That was the end of the afternoon for Seddon, who went 4.1 innings while allowing four runs on seven hits. He was relieved by Cody Allen, who had no trouble retiring Young and Peralta to keep the score tied.
The Indians, once again, got the lead back in the seventh. With Phil Coke pitching, Cabrera and Choo each grounded out to begin the inning, Santana slapped a single to left. Brantley drew a walk to move everyone up 90 feet. Then, Hafner blooped another RBI single into left field to make it a 5-4 game. Carrera couldn’t add any insurance, as he struck out looking.
To no one’s surprise, Detroit answered back. Infante led off with a double to left on an 0-2 pitch from Joe Smith. Cabrera singled to left to move Infante to third. Manny Acta, starved for a win, brought in Vinnie Pestano. Fielder hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the score up at 5-5.
The Indians defied odds in the bottom of the ninth. With Josh Tomlin out of the bullpen, Jackson hit a leadoff triple. Tomlin came back and struck out Infante. That opened the door for the Indians to intentionally walk Cabrera and Fielder. Acta kept up that “win at all costs” mentality by replacing Choo with Jose Lopez and using an overloaded infield. The move paid off, as Quintin Berry grounded into a 3-2-3 double play.
The Indians must’ve been riding the momentum of Tomlin’s Houdini act. After Brantley laced a missile that caught Infante at second, Hafner got his third RBI of the game by creaming a pitch over the wall in left-center. Not to be outdone, Carrera continued his hot hitting since being promoted by getting his first career MLB homer down the right field line. After the Tigers replaced Joaquin Benoit with Darin Downs, Jack Hannahan singled up the middle, and Lou Marson followed him up with an RBI double into the left field corner. Kipnis hit a ball to deep center before it was caught by Jackson. Cabrera followed up with the exact same result, and the Tigers were out of the inning, but not before the Indians built an 8-5 lead.
Chris Perez came on for the bottom of the 10th inning. He got the first two batters out easily. He then walked two straight Tigers hitters, andJackson continued his tear of Indians pitching with an RBI double down the left field line to make it 8-6. Infante fought off a tough two-strike pitch to drop it into center field and tie up the score. The nightmare was capped off as Cabrera demolished a pitch into the Indians empty bullpen to end it.
The winning pitcher after all that was Downs, who got his first win of the year. Chris Perez was saddled with his third loss of the year.
The win bumps Detroit’s record up to 57-50, while Cleveland falls to 50-57. The loss was the bitter icing on the cake that was an 0-9 road trip – the first time in franchise history such a feat has been accomplished.
The Indians return home Monday to faceMinnesota, who swept the Tribe right out of the Twin Cities about a week ago. Scott Diamond will look to baffle the Indians hitters again, while Zach McAllister will look to get more run support from his team. First pitch is at 7:05.
Photo: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio