Kinsler Homer Helps Sweep Tribe Out of Detroit; Tigers 6, Indians 4
Mike B. | On 14, Sep 2014
Did the Tribe Win Last Night? Nope. After getting out to a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning, poor Indians defense and a two-run homer by Detroit’s Ian Kinsler gave the Tigers a 6-4 victory. It was the second straight night that Shaw allowed a go-ahead, home run to the Tigers.
Detroit tacked on two more, necessary insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth in part when C.C. Lee threw a wild pitch during an intentional walk attempt. Trailing 6-3 going into the ninth the Indians battled back, plating a run and getting the go-ahead run to the plate, but Joe Nathan closed out the Tribe, completing a three-game sweep.
W: Coke (5-2) L: Shaw (5-5) Sv: Nathan (32)
HRs: J.D. Martinez (22), Kinsler (14)
Key Inning: Bottom of the sixth. After taking a 3-1 lead in the top half, Miguel Cabrera singled to start the inning and Victor Martinez reached on Carlos Santana’s throwing error when he tried to start a double play. With two on and no one out, J.D. Martinez singled center field and cut the Indians’ lead to 3-2 and still no one out. Indians manager Terry Francona’s hand was forced to go to his bullpen and start matching up in the sixth inning. Kyle Crockett struck out Alex Avila and Scott Atchison came on to retire the final two outs without relinquishing the lead, but it forced the bullpen into the game early and set up the go-ahead homer in the seventh.
Player of the Game: Bryan Shaw. Shaw came on in relief, with the Indians leading 4-3, to start the bottom of the seventh inning. He allowed an infield hit to Rajai Davis, then a two-run homer to Kinsler to give the Tigers the decisive 5-4 victory. Shaw pitched just two-thirds of an inning, allowing two runs on three hits and walking two. The homer to Kinsler was the second night in a row Shaw has allowed a go-ahead home run in the late innings. While it may appear that Shaw is running out of gas in the season, he has only allowed one run in his last 21 appearances dating back to July 31 before Saturday night. It might just be bad timing, with the playoff hopes on the line, for Shaw to have a bad weekend.
Standings: Cleveland falls to 76-72, 6.5 games in back of Detroit for the division lead. The Tribe is also five games back of the final Wild Card spot.
Etc.: The trio of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez combined to go 72-for-208 (.346) with 17 home runs and 45 runs batted in this season against Indians’ pitching. The Indians can say what they want about not feeling the need to emphasize their success against Detroit, or any specific team, but you can’t let a division opponent’s middle of the order put up numbers like that against your pitching staff and expect to contend for the division.
Analysis: With just 14 games left to play, even the most eternal of optimists have to think it would be a miracle to see the Indians still reach playoffs. Cleveland came into the weekend series with Detroit needing at to take two out of three to make up some ground, but instead were swept and gave up three games in the standings. The Tribe’s poor play helped the Tigers catapult past the Kansas City Royals and back into first place. With two weeks left in the season, the Indians are out of it, but if they have one last gasp remaining a sweep of the Houston Astros this week is a must.
Up Next: The Indians travel to Houston for a four game series with the Astros. Zach McAllister (3-6, 5.97) will make his first start for the Indians since July 31. McAllister is likely pitching to try and make a late season impression on Francona and the Indians’ front office organization for the 2015 season. Houston will counter with Colin McHugh (9-9, 2.79).
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images