Five Late Runs Send Tribe to Victory in Detroit; Indians 8, Tigers 3
Bob Toth | On 27, Jul 2018
The Cleveland Indians used four home runs and five late inning runs to knock off the Detroit Tigers from Comerica Park on Friday night in an 8-3 final.
In a close pitching matchup between Carlos Carrasco and pesky Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers, it would be a battle of bullpens that proved to be the difference as the Indians broke open the game with a big inning against the Tigers’ lone All-Star representative, Joe Jimenez.
The Indians took their first lead in the top of the sixth, only to have the Tigers even the score in the bottom half of the inning as the two teams traded home runs. After scoreless seventh inning efforts on each side, the Tribe used a big eighth to take the lead for good.
Jimenez entered the game in the top of the eighth after a scoreless inning from Louis Coleman. Fellow American League All-Star Michael Brantley engaged in a lengthy battle with Jimenez, fouling off four pitches in an eight-pitch at bat before sending a single to center. Jose Ramirez walked on five pitches before Edwin Encarnacion struck out swinging for the first out. Yonder Alonso fell behind in the count early before singling the opposite way to left to drive in the go-ahead run while knocking Jimenez out of the game. Left-hander Daniel Stumpf entered the game in relief for manager Ron Gardenhire and Tribe skipper Terry Francona countered with Brandon Guyer off of the bench and the move paid off as he launched pitch six of his at bat over the wall in left for the first Indians’ pinch-hit home run of the season, putting Cleveland up by a 7-3 score.
Cody Allen, who retired the final two outs in the seventh on a double play grounder, got the first two outs of the eighth before walking Victor Martinez. Adam Cimber allowed a single to John Hicks, but got James McCann to fly to center to strand runners on the corners.
Victor Alcantara took over in the ninth for the Tigers, but he gave up an insurance run on the second home run of the night by Francisco Lindor. Dan Otero worked around a leadoff single by Jose Iglesias to close out the ball game.
The Indians (56-46) improved to 11-3 on the season against the Tigers (44-61). They gained a whole game on all four divisional opponents as each club took Ls on Friday, giving the Indians an eight-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.
The early portion of the game was a back and forth fight between the two teams.
The Tigers got leadoff base runners in each of the first two innings against Carrasco. Leonys Martin singled to center on the first pitch of the bottom of the first, but was later forced at second in a quick first by the Tribe’s right-hander. The former Indian Martinez started the second inning with a four-pitch walk, but was forced at second on a fielder’s choice off of the bat of Hicks before Carrasco struck out McCann and Iglesias to end the inning.
The Indians had early scoring opportunities against the Tigers right-hander Fiers, who has pitched well against Cleveland during his career. Alonso and Melky Cabrera reached on a walk and a single with one out in the top of the second, but a flyout by Jason Kipnis and a strikeout by Yan Gomes stranded the pair. In the third, Brantley singled with two outs and Ramirez drew a walk, but Encarnacion was cut down on a strike looking.
Detroit took the lead in the bottom of the third. Victor Reyes reached on an error at first as Alonso’s throw to Carrasco covering first missed the mark. Martin struck out swinging before Reyes stole second. He moved to third on a groundout by Jeimer Candelario for the second out, but Nick Castellanos doubled off of the wall in left to put the Tigers up, 1-0. Niko Goodrum hooked the next offering from Carrasco down the left field line and over the wall in foul territory for a ground-rule double, putting Detroit up by two. The inning ended in an odd way as Martinez legged out an infield single to second, but Alonso’s throw home caught Goodrum charging towards the plate. He was tagged out by Ramirez for the final out of the frame.
The Tigers stranded a pair in the bottom of the fourth after a one-out double by McCann and a walk by Iglesias. A force at second and a fly out left runners on the corners.
In the fifth, the Tribe evened up the score. Gomes relocated a slider into left field for a leadoff single. Rajai Davis, in the lineup to replace the scratched Tyler Naquin, flied to right for the first out, but Lindor sent a four-seamer over the tall wall in right-center for a game-tying two-run home run, his 26th of the campaign.
Alonso gave the Indians their first lead of the game with a deep blast to right in the sixth on a first pitch changeup to give Cleveland a 3-2 edge, but it would not last long as Martinez tied the game by sending an 0-2 curveball from Carrasco to right to make it a 3-3 contest.
QUALITY START FOR CARRASCO
Carrasco got the hook with one out in the seventh inning, just short of the 100-pitch mark for the night. He was charged with three runs on seven hits in six and one-third innings, walking two batters and striking out eight on 97 total pitches in his no-decision.
FIERS GOES SIX
Fiers was aiming for a third win this season against the Indians, but instead was stuck with a no-decision despite a quality start. He worked six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Two of those strikeouts came in key situations early.
As was the case in his last outing against the Indians, it was a pair of long balls that hurt the right-hander the most, as he gave up two blasts to Lindor and Alonso.
LINDOR LEADS THE WAY
The leadoff man Lindor powered the Indians’ offense with home runs 26 and 27 on the season in his 2-for-5 day. Lindor extended his MLB lead in runs to 90, eight more than Boston’s Mookie Betts. He jumped ahead of teammate Ramirez for the MLB lead in extra base hits with 61 on the year. His home run total places him in a tie with Oakland’s Khris Davis for the fourth-most in the AL.
“The ball just jumps off his bat,” said Francona. “Fun to watch.”
“I try to focus on either hitting the ball the other way or hitting back up the middle, or doing something to kind of control myself,” shared Lindor after the game. “When I try to hit home runs, they don’t go out. I wish they did.”
Naquin was a late scratch prior to the game. He will head back to Cleveland to get checked out after experiencing right hip discomfort and could be a disabled list candidate. He was checked out by the team doctors in Detroit, but Francona shared that they were not comfortable clearing him to play.
The Indians will continue their final series from Detroit this season on Saturday afternoon as left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-5, 4.73 ERA) squares off with Tribe right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-6, 3.43).
Liriano has not pitched deep into ball games of late, working a total of ten innings combined in his last three appearances. His last time on the mound, he took a no-decision after working four and two-thirds innings against Kansas City while allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Clevinger has not won since early in the month, taking losses in each of his last three outings. He was good against the Tigers earlier this season, taking a no-decision in six and two-thirds innings of work while allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He went 4-0 against them last season with a 0.76 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.
First pitch from Comerica Park is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images