Tomlin and Lindor Continue Tribe’s Dominance of Detroit; Indians 7, Tigers 3
Bob Toth | On 03, May 2016
The Cleveland Indians returned home and ended a string of six consecutive one-run games with a big blast from Francisco Lindor and a quality outing from Josh Tomlin in a 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night from Progressive Field.
The Indians did something that they had struggled of late to do – score early runs for their starting pitching. They put a three-spot to the advantage of Tomlin after skirting out of trouble in the first inning.
Ian Kinsler reached on a single to third baseman Jose Ramirez to start the game. He was erased on a fielder’s choice before Miguel Cabrera singled J.D. Martinez to third. Staring down a big scoring opportunity, Victor Martinez flied out to right fielder Marlon Byrd, who gunned down the other Martinez trying to score from third base. The play was reviewed and the call went in the Tribe’s favor.
In the bottom half after a fly out from Carlos Santana, the Indians got to work against longtime foe Justin Verlander. Jason Kipnis drew a walk and Lindor singled him to second. Michael Brantley lined sharply to center for the second out, but Mike Napoli blasted a doubled over Anthony Gose’s head to score both base runners with a clutch two-out two-bagger. Yan Gomes drove Napoli in to make it a 3-0 lead with a single to center, as the throw to the plate sailed high.
After a one-out double from Lindor in the third, Brantley knocked home the Indians shortstop from second with a single to center to extend the lead to 4-0. Despite advancing to second on a wild pitch, Brantley would be stranded there on a nice play by Verlander on a Napoli grounder before Gomes flied out to center.
The Tigers cut the lead in half in the fifth on a rare multi-run blast off of Tomlin. Gose singled to start the inning and after a fly out from Jose Iglesias, Kinsler homered to the bleachers in left (his fifth of the year), making it a 4-2 game. This time, the Tribe countered with a big response of their own, ripping the game wide open in the bottom half after a leadoff walk from Santana and a single from Kipnis. Lindor deposited a pitch up and in 420 feet into the seats in right field to make it a 7-2 ball game.
Cleveland missed a chance to really run up the score in the sixth against reliever Buck Farmer. With one out, the Indians loaded the bases on a Tyler Naquin single, Santana walk, and an infield single from Kipnis, but Lindor grounded into a double play in the only blemish on his stat sheet on the night.
The Tigers scored the game’s final run in the eighth against Indians reliever Zach McAllister. Cabrera walked and moved to second on a single from Justin Upton. Nick Castellanos continued his hot start to 2016 with a single to left to score Cabrera and make it a 7-3 game. Bryan Shaw took over and stopped the bleeding with a strikeout and a groundout to end the brief threat.
The win extends Cleveland’s winning streak over Detroit to four straight games this season. The Indians improved to 11-12 with the win, while the Tigers fell to 14-11 while their five-game winning streak came to an end.
TOMLIN PLAYS THE STOPPER AGAIN
Tomlin (4-0, 3.13 ERA) again ended an Indians losing skid with six quality innings on the mound. He was not necessarily at his best, giving up nine hits over his outing Tuesday night, but limited the Tigers to just a two-run home run while striking out five. He became the first Indians starter since Justin Masterson (2011) to win his first four starts of the season.
When following an Indians loss, as was the case again for Tomlin Tuesday night, he improved to 11-0 with a 2.57 ERA in a dozen starts.
“After that [replay at home plate to end the first], he just competed,” said manager Terry Francona. “He throws strikes, he doesn’t beat himself, you can’t run on him. All of the things that I say, he did against a really good lineup.”
GET THAT MAN SOME RUNS!
Tomlin has been given five runs of support or more in 22 of his 84 career starts. He is 20-0 in those games.
VERLANDER LOSES AGAIN IN CLEVELAND
Verlander (2-3, 6.49) lasted just five innings on the night and matched his season high for runs allowed in an outing. He gave up seven runs on eight hits, walked three, and struck out two.
His streak of bad luck at Progressive Field is good for the third-worst ERA by any active pitcher at one ball park (minimum of 25 starts made). It was his fourth straight loss dealt by the Tribe, who he has not defeated since April 17, 2014, a span of nine starts in total.
He is now 9-14 in 25 career starts in Cleveland and 18-20 in 45 starts overall.
CABRERA FINDS HIS BAT
Cabrera, who was held hitless in the three-game series in Detroit in April against the Indians and was marred in an 0-for-20 slump against Cleveland, was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, a walk, one RBI, and a strikeout. His batting average is now 70 points higher than it was when Cleveland departed Motown for the Twin Cities over a week ago.
LINDOR LIGHTS UP THE SCOREBOARD
Lindor’s big day started early and continued throughout the game. In addition to several stellar defensive gems again in the field, he was 3-for-4 at the plate, drove in three runs on his fifth inning blast off of Verlander, and scored three times on the night to push his batting average to .315 on the season.
“He’s going to hit for average because he’s good, but when he starts doing some damage and starts feeling good, that’ll really help” said Francona. “Couple that with having [Brantley] back, and the more at bats he gets, it really should give us a big lift.”
Lindor now owns a lifetime .367 batting average against the Tigers in 14 career games, including a memorable first career hit at Comerica Park. In 2016, Lindor is hitting .533 against Detroit pitching.
“Whether you do it with the bat or the glove or your legs,” added Francona, “that’s part of the reason he has a chance to be so good because he can impact the game so many different ways.”
ALLEN STRONG IN A NON-SAVE APPEARANCE
Cody Allen, who has been hit this season when appearing in non-save roles, allowed one hit in the ninth but retired all three outs via the strikeout.
ON THE INJURY FRONT
Catcher Roberto Perez will be re-evaluated by team doctors on Thursday to determine whether his injured right thumb will require surgery. He broke the digit tagging out Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera at home plate on April 30. Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco has begun some light jogging while working his way back from a strained left hamstring.
Game time is scheduled for a 6:10 PM ET first pitch.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images