Early Motown Offense Keeps Tribe’s Brooms in Closet; Tigers 7, Indians 5

By Craig Gifford

All streaks eventually come to an end in baseball. For the Indians, their five-game winning streak against the Tigers and two-game streak, overall, came to crashing halt Thursday afternoon. The dropped a 7-5 game to their AL Central Division rival.

Cleveland starter Derek Lowe had his team in a 4-0 hole after one inning. It was too much to overcome as the Tribe fell to 30-26 and a game behind first-place Chicago, who will play this evening.

Lowe wasn’t actually hit hard in the Tigers’ four-run first, but Detroit’s hitters were finding any hold in the infield possible.

“Derek had alot ground balls in the first inning,” said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. “Sometimes, they go at people and sometimes they go through the infield. (The Tigers) had a good approach, going the other way with the ball.”

“When you have a ground ball guy, it doesn’t mean every ground ball will go to a position player out there. He’ll have his days.”

Lowe, a native of nearby Dearborn, Michigan, had his moments in the third inning, as well. After the Indians cut Detroit’s lead to 4-1, the Tigers jumped on Lowe for three more in the third and a comfortable six-run cushion. A Miguel Cabrera two-run home run in the frame was the punctuation mark. It was his 13th homer of the year, on a sinker that was down and in.

Despite the large deficit, the Indians did not go away. They plated two runs in the sixth on RBI from Carlos Santana and Jose Lopez. In the seventh, Asdrubal Cabrera knocked a two-out double, plating two and closing the gap to what would turn out to be the final score.

The Indians actually had a chance to do more damage and possibly take a lead in that seventh stanza. Following the Cabrera two-bagger, Jason Kipnis reached on an infield single and Santana walked, loading the bases. Jose Lopez, with two RBI in the game, flied to centerfield, ending the threat.

“Seven to one was a little too much to overcome,” Acta said. “I liked the way our offense kept battling back. We were just a hit away from tying the ball game or taking the lead.”

The Cleveland offense actually out-hit Detroit, 11-10. Kipnis, Casey Kotchman and Shin-Soo Choo led the offense with two hits, each.

While, the Tribe’s winning streak ended, another streak did not. Michael Brantley collected a single in the eighth, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. It’s the longest streak for the Indians, since Brantley went 19 in a row in 2010.

Acta said he was happy with the way his team played in taking two of three in the series with Detroit. It was a much-need rebound after a 2-7 stretch against the White Sox, Royals and Twins.

Cleveland’s nine-game road trip, in which they will also go to St. Louis and Cincinnati, will now take them to a three-game series beginning with the Cardinals tomorrow night. Josh Tomlin will take the hill for the Tribe against former Indians starter and two-time Opening Day pitcher for Cleveland, Jake Westbrook. Game time is at 8:15 p.m.

Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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