Tribe Makes it Ten Straight Behind Eight Strong from Kluber; Indians 5, Tigers 2
Bob Toth | On 02, Sep 2017
Eight strong innings from Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and four first inning runs paced the Indians to a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers, extending the team’s winning streak to ten straight games.
The Indians (79-56) have guaranteed another winning road trip by taking each of the first six games of their eleven-game stretch away from home. After sweeping three straight in New York to start their three-city tour, they have won each of the first three games in Detroit from a Tigers team that has now entered full rebuilding mode. The win at Comerica Park gave the Indians a Major League leading 43rd road win this season.
Cleveland sent nine men to the plate in the first inning and touched up Jordan Zimmermann for four runs, giving Kluber plenty of run support before he could even get to the mound. Francisco Lindor flied to right to start the game, but Bradley Zimmer tripled to right-center and Jose Ramirez knocked him in with a triple of his own to left-center to give the Indians the lead. An RBI-single to center by Edwin Encarnacion made it a 2-0 game. Carlos Santana doubled him over to third before a foul out by Lonnie Chisenhall recorded the second out. With the inning hanging in the balance, Abraham Almonte singled to center, scoring both runners to double the Tribe’s lead to 4-0. A single by Yan Gomes kept the inning alive, but Giovanny Urshela, the ninth man to bat, lined to left to end the inning.
Both clubs would strand runners in the early innings. Back-to-back two-out singles by Ramirez and Encarnacion in the second were wasted by a groundout by Santana. The Tribe got two more two-out hits from Gomes and Urshela in the third, but Lindor flied to center to again strand a pair.
The Tigers had their first scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third after a leadoff double from Bryan Holaday past a diving Zimmer. He advanced to third one batter later, but Kluber retired Jose Iglesias on a liner to second and Ian Kinsler on a foul out to first.
Detroit threatened again in the bottom of the fourth. Alex Presley singled to left and moved to third one out later on a single to center by Efren Navarro. Kluber buckled down and struck out Mikie Mahtook swinging before a groundout by Jeimer Candelario ended the inning.
The Indians added to their lead in the fifth. Chisenhall doubled with one out and came in to score on another double to center by Almonte to make it a 5-0 ball game.
Kluber kept his shutout intact into the seventh, when the Tigers finally found the scoreboard. Mahtook reached on a double, but only after a review by Detroit overturned the initial out call at second base. A grounder to first by Candelario moved Mahtook over to third base and he scored on a single to right-center by Holaday. Kluber would retire the next two batters to finish the seventh and worked a quick eighth, giving up a one-out single to Presley before getting the last two batters that he would face on the night.
After stranding two men hit by pitches in the top of the ninth, the Indians sent Bryan Shaw to the mound to pitch the home half, but he had another tough outing on the mound. He gave up a single to center to Mahtook before Candelario reached on an infield single to short. Holaday lined to center for the first out and Andrew Romine flied to center to move Mahtook to third with two outs. Manager Terry Francona opted to bring on Cody Allen in relief of Shaw in what had become a save situation and he gave up a single to center by Iglesias that scored the inherited runner Mahtook. With two still on and the tying run at the plate in Kinsler, Allen got the veteran second baseman to ground to short to end the ball game, earning the Tribe closer his 23rd save of the season.
Kluber (14-4) worked eight innings of one-run baseball for the Indians in continuing his strong run of dominance on the mound. He allowed a run on eight hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out seven on 114 pitches. The Indians have now won 62 straight contests when scoring four runs or more in games started by Kluber.
Zimmermann (8-12) was dealt another defeat against the Tribe, his third loss against them this season. He worked five innings, allowing five runs on 12 hits while striking out two. Myles Jaye made his Major League debut for the Tigers on the mound in relief of Zimmermann, working three and one-third innings while allowing two hits and plunking two batters in the ninth.
The Tigers dropped to 58-77 with the loss, their third straight. Presley was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with four singles in a losing effort.
Almonte paced the Indians with three RBI on the night. He was one of four Indians players (Ramirez, Encarnacion, and Gomes) to get two hits in the ball game.
Zimmer exited for the Tribe prior to his at bat in the fourth inning, replaced by Greg Allen, and was being evaluated for a head injury after suffering some blurred vision after his diving attempt of Holaday’s double in the third. Allen would strike out in his first at bat of the game, but he legged out an infield single in the sixth to notch his first big league hit.
The Indians and Tigers will wrap up their four-game series on Sunday in a 1:10 PM ET start. Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.38 ERA) will make his first start in more than a month and several days after his scheduled return to the mound was cancelled by rains in New York. The Tigers will look to rookie lefty Chad Bell (0-1, 5.48) to make his first Major League start while trying to help Detroit avoid the four-game home sweep. He will be making the start in place of Michael Fulmer, who was scratched.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images