Tigers Avoid Sweep With a Little Revenge; Tigers 12, Indians 2
Bob Toth | On 06, Jul 2016
After being utterly dominated in the first eleven games between the two clubs, the Detroit Tigers enacted a little bit of revenge on the Indians on Wednesday afternoon, chasing Josh Tomlin early on the way to a 12-2 rout of Cleveland at Progressive Field.
The Indians (51-33) were dealt their first loss at home since May 31 against the Texas Rangers. The club fell to 16-3 since starting a franchise-best 14-game winning streak in the middle of June and 25-9 since June 1, a Major League best. The Tigers (45-40) finally end a massive losing streak to the Indians to avoid a fourth consecutive three-game sweep by the Tribe and pulled within six and a half games of first place Cleveland in the American League Central Division.
With Michael Fulmer on the mound, the Tigers did not need much for support, as the rookie right-hander has been impressive this season with the exception of a loss to Cleveland in his second Major League start. He gave the Indians a taste of what the rest of baseball has seen of his development by keeping the Tribe to just two runs on the afternoon.
The Indians had followed their recipe for success against the Tigers this season by jumping out to an early lead. Jose Ramirez doubled to lead off the second inning and moved to third on a throwing error by right fielder Steven Moya. Lonnie Chisenhall, hot off of a four-hit game on Tuesday night, knocked him home easily with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Indians the early edge.
The new Major League leader in sacrifice flies added another to his tally in the third against Fulmer. Chris Gimenez singled on the first pitch of the inning and moved to third on a single by Carlos Santana. After a strikeout, Francisco Lindor lifted a fly to left. Gimenez was called out after the Tigers appealed, but upon review, the call was overturned and the Indians had a 2-0 lead. Lindor now leads all of baseball with eight sacrifice flies this season.
The lead lasted just two batters into the top of the next half inning, when the Tigers sent seven men to the plate and took the lead. Ian Kinsler singled to right to start the inning before Cameron Maybin homered off the pole in left to tie the game. After an out by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez doubled to center, moved to third on a single by Nick Castellanos, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Upton to give the Tigers a rare lead against the Indians this season.
“The fourth…leadoff base hit to right and then that ball hit the foul pole,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I don’t have a very good view. I was surprised when it hit the pole.”
Fulmer got out of trouble in the fourth after a leadoff walk to Ramirez and a single by Tyler Naquin with two outs put runners on the corners, but Gimenez grounded back to the mound to end the threat. Such was the case for the Indians on the day, as they had some base runners, but could not get them around to the plate.
Tomlin returned for the fifth and got two strikeouts to start the frame before things got away from him. Kinsler reached on an infield single and Maybin walked to bring up Cabrera, who scored a pair with a single to right. Martinez reached on an error by Lindor to bring up Castellanos, who cleared them all with a three-run shot to center to give the Tigers a commanding 8-2 lead and spelling the end of the day for Tomlin.
Zach McAllister took a gas can with him to the mound in the seventh and really erased all doubt in the contest after loading the bases on hits by Kinsler and Maybin and a walk to Cabrera. He got a fly out from Martinez, but Castellanos doubled home a pair to make it 10-2. He exited, but Moya drove in two more with a two-out single to make it 12-2.
FULMER IMPRESSIVE AGAIN
Fulmer (9-2, 2.11 ERA) continued his tear through Major League hitters and worked around some light traffic on the bases throughout the game. He worked six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out two on the ball game. The outing was a stark contrast to his last against Cleveland, when he worked five innings but allowed five runs on ten hits.
CASTELLANOS MATCHES CAREER HIGH
The three-run homer by Tigers third baseman Castellanos in the fifth broke the game open for Detroit. He also singled, doubled, and drove in five runs, matching a career-high set on August 19 of last season against the Chicago Cubs. He had a pair of doubles and two homers in that game.
LOTS OF STREAKS END, BUT ONE CONTINUES
The Indians’ 13-game home winning streak and 11-game winning streak against the Tigers came to an end with Wednesday’s loss. Kipnis’s 13-game home hitting streak also came to an end with an 0-for-3 at the plate.
Ramirez extended his hitting streak to eleven games with a double in the second that led to the Indians’ first run. He is now hitting .348 (16-for-46) with four doubles, six runs scored, and seven runs batted in while boosting his batting average eleven points.
In his final start of the first half, Tomlin (9-2, 3.51) ended with a disappointing four and two-thirds innings logged. He allowed eight runs (just five earned) on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four, but gave up two costly home runs.
“When Josh is good, they’re going to put balls in play,” said Francona. “Just giving that lineup extra chances doesn’t help.”
He has surrendered 21 homers on the season, tied for the second-most in baseball behind MLB leader Chris Young’s 26. He is just three shy of matching his career-high of 24, set back in 2011.
HOUSE MAKES HIS 2016 DEBUT
T.J. House made his return to the big league stage in the top of the seventh. He worked one and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up a hit and striking out two. Two base runners that he inherited from McAllister came around to score.
GOOD SHOWING DESPITE LOSS
A total of 24,098 took in the afternoon matinee between the Indians and Tigers from Progressive Field. The three-game set between the two clubs drew 77,709 fans.
The Indians will get right back to work on Thursday night as the New York Yankees make their only trip to Cleveland this season in a four-game set. Right-hander Ivan Nova (5-5, 5.06) will start for New York, while Cleveland will send out Trevor Bauer (7-2, 3.02).
Game time for the series opener with the Bronx Bombers is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak