Tribe Opens Road Trip With a Dud in Detroit; Tigers 7, Indians 1
Bob Toth | On 01, May 2017
Trevor Bauer’s struggles with the Tigers continued as five early runs paced Detroit to a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night from Comerica Park.
The Indians right-hander came in with a 4-4 mark against Detroit in his career, which looked much less a concern until looking further at his 7.24 ERA and 1.81 WHIP against the Tigers over his four seasons against them heading into the night. Detroit got to him for six runs on eight hits over five innings in April and wasted little time jumping out in front of him again on Monday.
Much like his start back in Cleveland the first time around, Bauer had a bad tendency of avoiding the inner half of the plate against the Tigers, which allowed Detroit to sit and wait for pitches out over the dish or on the outer half to get their arms extended. In the first matchup with Detroit, the inner half was eliminated after Miguel Cabrera complained just three batters into the game about Bauer pitching in. With Cabrera on the shelf with back and right groin issues, his influence was lacking from the game, but Bauer avoided the inside pitch for much of the night anyways.
The Tigers tallied a pair of runs on a cool and windy night from Michigan to take an early advantage against the Tribe after the Indians left a pair in the first when a two-out walk by Michael Brantley and a single by Edwin Encarnacion were negated when left-hander Daniel Norris struck out Jose Ramirez swinging. In the home half, Bauer walked Tyler Collins with one out and Nicholas Castellanos doubled to drive him home. Victor Martinez followed with his first of three hits on the night when he doubled home Castellanos to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. Justin Upton would walk on four pitches before Bauer retired the next two, but the damage was done.
The Tiger bats got going again the next inning, but were aided by command issues by Bauer as he walked Jose Iglesias on four pitches with one out in the frame. Ian Kinsler singled him over to second and Collins lifted a three-run homer to right-center to blow the game open, just one pitch after Bauer thought he had strike three on a rare inside pitch on the night.
The Indians would get on the board in the third against Norris as the lineup turned over. Michael Martinez walked but was erased on a double play grounder by Carlos Santana. The two-out rally then began as Francisco Lindor singled to center, moved to second on a walk by Brantley, and scored on a single to left by Encarnacion to make it a 5-1 game. With two big runners in scoring position, Ramirez stepped to the plate in a situation that he has thrived in since last season, but he was again retired as he saw three pitches and struck out swinging to end the inning.
For the third time in the first four innings, the Indians got runners in scoring position, but again waited until two outs to get things going. Austin Jackson walked with one out and moved to third on a two-out single to right center by Martinez, but Santana jumped on the next pitch and flied easily to right to short circuit the scoring opportunity.
Bauer worked out of a jam with runners on the corners and two out in the fourth, but quickly got into trouble in the fifth. The former Indian Martinez bunted against the shifted infield and reached safely. Upton doubled to deep center to send Bauer to the showers for reliever Zach McAllister. His first pitch to Alex Avila was sent back into center field, scoring both base runners to make it a 7-1 ball game. McAllister would loaded the bases with a pair of walks, but struck out Collins to stop the bleeding.
Cleveland would have opportunities in three of the last four innings, but could do nothing to aid its cause. Brandon Guyer hit a ground-rule double in the sixth off of Norris with one out, but was stranded at second as Jackson and Roberto Perez were retired. Santana reached on an infield single with one out off of reliever Alex Wilsonin the seventh, but stayed right there as Lindor and Brantley were taken care of on balls in the air. Jackson legged out an infield single in the ninth against Anibal Sanchez, but pinch-runner Abraham Almonte would be left at third base after fielder’s indifference allowed him to move around the bases, but the Indians were set down in order after the hit to end the ball game.
Bauer (2-3, 7.67 ERA) took the loss for the Indians after going four-plus innings on the night. He was charged with seven runs on seven hits with five walks and three strikeouts. He pitched from behind much of the night, throwing 50 of 93 pitches for strikes and first pitch strikes to just ten of the 23 batters that he faced.
Norris (2-2, 4.00) got back into the win column with his second victory of the season against the Indians. His quality outing netted him six innings of one-run ball on the mound. He gave up five hits and walked four, but struck out eight Indians hitters. Santana was the only Indians starter to not be retired in such a way on the night.
The Indians fell to 14-11 with the defeat and are now 8-5 on the road this season. The Tigers improved to 13-12 and are now 8-6 at Comerica Park in 2017. They are just one win short of matching their season total against the Indians from last season.
Jackson was lifted in the ninth for a pinch-runner after coming up injured while getting his hustle single in the ninth. Manager Terry Francona shared after the game that the veteran outfielder jammed his toe on first base while running out the play.
The Tigers are expected to activate the slugging Cabrera from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday.
Game two of the four-game set is scheduled for a 7:10 PM ET start on Tuesday night. The Indians will send right-hander Corey Kluber (3-1, 4.19 ERA) to the mound in a rematch of the earlier matchup with Justin Verlander (1-2, 4.60). Both pitchers gave up their share of runs in their last head-to-head battle in Cleveland in the middle of April, but Kluber came away with the win after the Indians offense tagged Verlander for nine runs on eleven hits in four innings.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images