Tigers Tame Tribe for Second Time this Season; Tigers 9, Indians 5
Bob Toth | On 18, Sep 2016
The Indians lost an early 2-0 lead as the Tigers capitalized on a bout of wildness from starter Trevor Bauer and a pair of big blasts finished off the afternoon as Detroit defeated Cleveland by a 9-5 final to avoid a sweep at Progressive Field.
Bauer showed some poise and aggressiveness on the mound, but it was his own self-inflicted damage that proved to be too much to overcome. Despite that, the Indians had pulled within one run in defense of their starter before a ninth inning three-run homer drastically altered the outcome of the game.
Left-hander Daniel Norris was on the mound looking to salvage the weekend for the Tigers but got into trouble as a pair of two-out hits put the Indians on the board in the second. Carlos Santana doubled with one out and scored on a two-out single to center from Brandon Guyer, who advanced to second on an error by Cameron Maybin. Abraham Almonte drove him home with a single to right to give Cleveland a 2-0 advantage.
Bauer let two Tigers reach in each of the first two innings, but escaped both situations without any runs allowed. In the third, that changed quickly. Ian Kinsler was hit on the top of his helmet by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second on a walk by Maybin. A single to right by Miguel Cabrera, who was hit by a pitch in his at bat in the first, loaded the bases. Victor Martinez was then drilled above the right knee for the second time in the series by a pitch, to force in a run as Kinsler barked at Bauer while coming in to score. The Indians right-hander struck out the next two batters swinging, but Erick Aybar delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single to right to plate Maybin and Cabrera as the Tigers took a 3-2 lead.
Norris locked in on the mound, striking out the last two in the third and the first two of the fourth before a two-out single from Jose Ramirez. Guyer ended the fourth with a grounder back to the mound.
Detroit expanded on their lead with a big pimp job from Justin Upton in the fifth. After getting a pair of grounders to start the inning, Bauer gave up a double to right to J.D. Martinez. Upton then delivered a 450 foot shot to center and one of the slower home run trots of the season for Detroit as the disrespectful left fielder needed 31.2 seconds to round the bases (h/t Daren Willman, Director of Baseball Research & Development for MLB.com), slowest by a Tiger not named Victor Martinez, a man who at times looks like he can barely walk. It was the third homer of the series for the Tigers’ big offseason free agent acquisition.
Cleveland rallied for a pair in the fifth to pull within one. Chris Gimenez singled with one out and Rajai Davis walked. Jason Kipnis grounded to Kinsler at second, but his error allowed Gimenez to score on the misplay. With runners on the corners, Francisco Lindor added to his MLB lead with a sacrifice fly to deep right, scoring Davis to make it 5-4.
Bauer gave the run back in the sixth as James McCann doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice. After a strikeout of Andrew Romine for out number two, Bauer threw a pitch in the dirt to Maybin that went to the backstop, allowing McCann to score to make it 6-4.
Santana homered on the second pitch of the day from reliever Alex Wilson in the sixth to pull the Indians back within a run at 6-5, but they would get no closer than that. Ramirez singled after the Santana blast but was picked off of first after a missed bunt by Guyer. Each remaining Indians player was retired in order the rest of the way.
In a piece of helpful insurance in the ninth, Detroit outfielder Martinez hit a three-run homer off of Joe Colon to rip the game open at 9-5.
The Indians (86-63) missed out on a big chance to effectively eliminate the Tigers (79-70) from the AL Central Division race this weekend, but still chipped the magic number down to seven after wins on Friday and Saturday. Their lead in the division remains seven games with 14 to play, a nearly insurmountable hole for the Tigers to climb out of in such a small amount of time.
The teams do still have four head-to-head games remaining in Detroit next week, with the Indians holding an impressive 13-2 record in the season series between the two clubs.
BAUER HIS OWN WORST ENEMY
Bauer (11-8, 4.24 ERA) was hurt by his own mistakes on the mound. He hit three Tigers on the afternoon and walked two more while giving up ten hits in five and two-thirds innings. He was charged with six earned runs in the loss while striking out five. He threw first pitch strikes to 25 of the 30 batters that he faced, but the Tigers were able to capitalize on the mistakes that he made.
The three hit batters tied a team record for one outing, last done by Justin Masterson in 2012.
NORRIS HURT BY ERRORS
Norris (3-2, 3.63) got the win despite allowing four runs on five hits in five innings. Just one of the four runs was earned after the bobbled ball in center by Maybin and the error by Kinsler in the fifth.
His one walk surrendered was the only walk by Tigers pitching in the ball game. He struck out six Indians in his first start since setting a new career-high in Ks. It was the first win by a Tigers starter in the last 21 games.
Francisco Rodriguez made his first appearance of the season against the Indians after failing to be needed in the first 14 contests. He worked a four-save, striking out one in earning his 43rd save of the year.
Cabrera got his 2,500th career hit in the third inning with his single to right.
Kinsler was ejected after the fifth inning completed by home plate umpire Jordan Baker. No explanation for the ejection was given during the game for the heave ho.
He was replaced by Romine in the lineup and Aybar moved over to second to take his spot in the field.
PLUTKO SET TO JOIN
The name plate for starter Adam Plutko, who pitched on the farm for Akron and Columbus this season, was seen in the locker room prior to the game. The Indians will add him to the mix of arms to use through the rest of the season, but will need to purchase his contract from the Clippers to add him to the 40-man roster.
A corresponding move will need to occur in order to create space for him.
COME TO CLEVELAND, KANSAS CITY
The Indians will take Monday off before welcoming in the Kansas City Royals for three straight in the middle of the week.
Right-hander Josh Tomlin (12-8, 4.75) will look to make a second consecutive strong start for the Tribe as he faces fellow right-hander Edinson Volquez (10-11, 5.40). Game time on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images