Infante Sends Tribe to Fifth Straight Loss; Tigers 10, Indians 5
Mike B. | On 31, Aug 2013
With Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera sidelined with an abdomen injury, it appeared the Indians stood to catch a break in what has been a tumultuous and disappointing road trip.
However, it was Omar Infante who supplied all the offense and power the Tigers would need to send Cleveland to a 10-5 defeat Saturday night at Comerica Park. Infante hit two home runs and drove in five runs to help send Cleveland to their fifth straight defeat despite late-inning offense that came up just short. The Tribe’s late-inning rally was squashed out by a bigger, crushing inning in the bottom of the eighth from Detroit. The Tigers pounded out 15 hits and scored 10 runs while last season’s Triple Crown winner rested on the bench.
The Indians drew first blood in the top of the first inning. Michael Bourn walked to start the inning. Nick Swisher flew out to center field before Jason Kipnis grounded out to second base, advancing Bourn into scoring position. Carlos Santana put the Indians on the scoreboard when he singled back up the middle and Bourn scampered around from second base to score and put the Indians up 1-0.
Cleveland’s lead was short lived, however, as Detroit sent nine hitters to the plate in the bottom of the second inning against Tribe starter, Scott Kazmir. Victor Martinez singled to center field to start the frame and Matt Tuiasosopo walked to set the table. Omar Infante, one of the more unlikely Tigers’ hitters, homered to left field to stake the Detroit to a 3-1 lead.
After Kazmir struck out Bryan Pena, Ramon Santiago and Austin Jackson each singled to start the rally over again. Kazmir struck out Jose Iglesias for the second out of the inning before Torii Hunter singled to center field to bring home Santiago and extend the lead to 4-1 after two innings.
Kazmir retired Prince Fielder for the final out of the second inning and settled down to retire seven in a row from that point. An Iglesias infield single would be the only baserunner he would allow after the second inning. Kazmir (7-7) pitched five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks on 98 pitches. The Infante home run in the second inning was the crushing blow.
Cleveland began to scrape back into the game in the top of the fifth inning when they cut the deficit to two runs. Asdrubal Cabrera reached on an infield single off Sanchez to start the inning. Jason Giambi singled to right field to put runners on the corners. It was Giambi’s 1,999th career base hit. After Lonnie Chisenhall fouled out to first base and Yan Gomes struck out, Bourn singled to right field to bring Cabrera around and cut the score to 4-2, Detroit.
The Tribe could have cut the lead again in the sixth when Michael Brantley tripled to right field with two outs, but Cabrera popped out to the catcher to strand him.
Detroit extended the lead again in the sixth inning when Bryan Shaw replaced Kazmir on the mound. With one out, Andy Dirks walked and came home on Infante’s second home run of the evening. His ninth homer of the year just cleared the left field fence when it glanced off Brantley’s glove, but was good enough to extend the lead to 6-2.
Shaw was lucky to end the sixth without further damage. Pena doubled after the home run. Santiago flied out for the second out of the inning before Jackson was hit-by-a-pitch and Iglesias walked to load the bases. However, Hunter grounded out to third base to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
Yan Gomes crushed a solo home run in the seventh inning to get the Indians’ back to a 6-3 game. The solo home run was his ninth home run of the season and ended Sanchez’s evening. Sanchez (12-7) pitched six and two-third innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out five. He retired 10 in a row after allowing the first inning run. Drew Smyly came on to finish the seventh inning and get Bourn to ground back to the pitcher.
Rich Hill worked a clean seventh inning for the Indians before Jose Veras came on for the Tigers in the eighth inning. Cleveland rallied and cut the score to 6-5 when Kipnis doubled to right center field and Santana hit an inside-the-park home run. Santana’s 17th home run sent Jackson back to the center field wall, where he hit the wall hard enough to injure himself. Santana was able to lumber around the bases before Dirks could run over and corral the ball.
Cabrera singled with two outs, but Giambi flew out to center field to end the inning with Cleveland still down, 6-5.
But like nearly each time the Indians scored, Detroit countered and they did it again in the bottom of the eighth inning. Matt Albers came on in relief for the Indians. After retiring Infante, Pena and Santiago each singled to set the table. Cody Allen replaced Albers on the mound with runners on the corners and looking for a double play. Jackson no longer showed signs of his elbow injury from crashing into the wall when he tripled to the left field wall, scoring two and blowing the game open to 8-5.
Iglesias executed a perfect squeeze bunt play to bring home Jackson under Allen’s throw to the plate. After Allen struck out Hunter, Marc Rzepczynski came on to face Prince Fielder who doubled off the wall in right field and made it 10-5, Detroit when Iglesias touched home. Rzepczynski intentionally walked Martinez and allowed an infield single to Dirks before getting Infante to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Detroit sent ten to the plate in the inning. The four run outburst went nicely with the four run tally in the second inning that sent nine to the plate. The Tigers sent just eight to the dish in the sixth when they plated two. Detroit pounded out 15 hits on the evening.
Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth inning with ease in a non-save situation.
The loss drops Cleveland eight and a half games in back of the Tigers in the American League Central Division race. It likely ends any hope of a miracle September run to a division title. Cleveland remains four and a half games in back of the wild card chase.
The Tribe will get some added reinforcements before tomorrow’s game. Indians manager Terry Francona announced Preston Guilmet, Nick Hagadone, Blake Wood, Jose Ramirez and Kelly Shoppach would all be added to the roster when they are allowed to expand Sunday. Cleveland is expected to add five more pitchers in the next couple days to the roster.
Cleveland will try to avoid the sweep in Detroit and salvage one game on their six game road trip Sunday afternoon. Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.67) will make his second start of the season against the Tigers, while Detroit will counter with veteran Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.73).
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images