Bullpen Falters as Tigers Take Game One From Tribe; Tigers 7, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 01, Jul 2017
After the Tribe tied the game with a three-run top of the seventh, Cleveland’s Bryan Shaw allowed three runs in the bottom half of the inning as the Tigers defeated the Indians in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader from Detroit, 7-4.
In a matchup of two inconsistent starters in Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin and Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, neither pitcher would factor in the final decision, but had plenty to say with how the game got to its end results.
The Indians went down in order through the first two innings, while Tomin escaped the first with a double play grounder off of the bat of J.D. Martinez. In the second, however, the Tigers threatened quickly with early runners. Miguel Cabrera walked and Nicholas Castellanos singled to left. Victor Martinez would be cut down swinging for a big first out before Mikie Mahtook sent a screamer to center. Instead of an RBI-base knock, he was robbed by a diving Bradley Zimmer on a play that could have saved several runs. The next pitch clobbered catcher James McCann to load the bases, but Tomlin got a grounder to short from Jose Iglesias, with the force at second ending the inning.
Cleveland took the lead in the next half inning. Carlos Santana singled to center before a strikeout by Zimmer. Yan Gomes hit a ground rule double to right that put two in scoring position for Jason Kipnis, who lofted a sacrifice fly to center to put the Indians on the board before Francisco Lindor flied to left to end the inning.
The lead would be short-lived as Tomlin’s penchant for the home run ball got the best of him and the Tribe in the bottom of the third. After Ian Kinsler flied to left to start the inning and Matt den Dekker grounded to second for the second out, Martinez and Cabrera went back-to-back to put the Tigers out front, 2-1. They would double that score the following inning as the former Indian Martinez and Mahtook started the inning with singles before a strikeout of McCann. Iglesias then delivered the big blow with a two-run double to center to make it a 4-1 ball game.
Tomlin got the hook with two outs in the fifth after giving up a double to Castellanos. Sanchez was in a groove, retiring eight straight after a fourth inning walk of Edwin Encarnacion. The Tigers starter may have run out of gas in the seventh though, as the Indians put together a rally to tie the game. Encarnacion flied out to start the inning before Jose Ramirez doubled and Lonnie Chisenhall drove him home with a single to center. Daniel Stumpf came on from the Tigers bullpen to face Santana, who saw a 3-0 count turn into a 3-2 count before drilling the game-tying homer to right to tie the game at four.
Shaw entered for McAllister in the seventh and quickly created his own trouble. He walked the outfielder Martinez on five pitches before a fly to right by Cabrera. Castellanos then tipped the scales back in the Tigers favor with a triple to right, driving in Martinez from first to put Detroit back on top, 5-4. Shaw intentionally walked the other Martinez, but Mahtook continued his big day at the plate with a single to left that scored Castellanos. McCann followed with a single of his own to left to make it a 7-4 score.
Bruce Rondon pitched a quiet eighth, allowing a one-out single by Michael Brantley. Justin Wilson closed it out in the ninth for his eighth save, striking out Chisenhall, getting a fly out from Santana, and striking out pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer to end it.
The Tigers (36-43) continued their winning ways at home this season, improving to 21-17 at Comerica Park. The Indians (42-37) remain atop the American League Central at the end of the contest, holding a two-game lead over Minnesota, who dropped the first game of their doubleheader with the Kansas City Royals Saturday afternoon.
Tomlin’s troubles with the long ball continued early as the two solo shots surrendered gave the Tigers the lead in response to a solo third inning run from his teammates. He worked four and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts on 82 pitches. Shaw took his third loss of the season after he allowed three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
Sanchez looked good again in his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo, stretched back out for rotation work. He fired a quality outing in his no-decision and was charged with three runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six and one-third innings on the mound. Shane Greene vultured a win in relief, walking one and retiring the other to become the pitcher of record when the score flipped in the bottom of the seventh.
Baseball will resume from Detroit a few hours later in the day Saturday as the two teams complete the doubleheader. Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 5.53 ERA) will take the mound first for the Tigers, while Carlos Carrasco (8-3, 3.67) will look to get back into the win column after a rough outing his last time against the Texas Rangers. The clubs will keep a pair of left-handed starters around as the 26th men for the day’s doubleheader, with Ryan Merritt available from the Cleveland bullpen and Matt Boyd ready in the Tigers ‘pen.
First pitch of the nightcap is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images