Tribe Skid Hits Season-Worst Six Straight; Tigers 6, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 08, Jun 2013
Detroit pounded spot starter Carlos Carrasco for six earned runs in four innings of work and held off a late Cleveland charge as the Tigers defeated the Indians 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians briefly held the lead early in the ball game.
Michael Bourn led off the game with a two-pitch double to left off of Detroit starter Rick Porcello (3-3). Two pitches later, Jason Kipnis singled to left, scoring Bourn from second and giving the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
The lead did not last long. After working out of a bases loaded jam with one out in the first, Carrasco (0-2) found himself right back in trouble in the second.
Torii Hunter singled to right. A wild pitch by Carrasco moved both runners up and eventually led to a walk after a lengthy nine pitch at bat. With the bases loaded, Prince Fielder cleared them all with one swing of the bat, doubling deep into the nook in right center field. Victor Martinez flied out to end the inning, but the Tigers had built a 4-1 lead on the four-run inning.
The Tigers scored a pair in the third to expand their lead. Each of the first three batters reached base to load the bases for the third straight inning. Jhonny Peralta singled to left, followed by a walk by Alex Avila and a bloop pop that fell in shallow left by Infante. Garcia grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Peralta, and Dirks singled home Avila to give the Tigers a 6-1 lead.
Porcello, meanwhile, found a groove on the mound. After the hits by the first two batters of the day, he retired 12 straight hitters before walking Carlos Santana to lead off the fifth. Yan Gomes, swinging at the second pitch, dribbled one to third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who fielded the ball with his bare hand but threw the ball over Fielder’s head at first and into the seats, moving both base runners up. Ryan Raburn then grounded a ball to short for the inning’s first out. Santana scored on the play to make it a 6-2 Tigers advantage.
Carrasco was pulled from the mound after a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth by Peralta into the left field corner. He worked four-plus innings on the afternoon, allowing six earned runs on ten hits, walking three and striking out just one. He could not locate his fastball throughout the afternoon and seemed hesitant or unable to pitch inside throughout the day.
“When he learns to start throwing that fastball in, he’s going to be something special,” said manager Terry Francona of Carrasco. “There’s so much there to like. Until that happens, he’s just making it harder on himself than it’s supposed to be. You’ve got to use the inner third of the plate.”
He has now allowed 13 earned runs and 17 hits in seven and two-thirds innings on the season. He is expected to drop his appeal of his eight-game suspension for throwing at the head of New York’s Kevin Youkilis in a game two months ago.
Porcello’s day was done after six innings. He struck out seven Indians batters and allowed three hits and a pair of walks. He was charged with two runs, just one earned.
“I thought starting out, we took some good swings and then when they got the lead, it looked like he really settled down and relaxed and started using all of his pitches and became a little bit more confident pitcher,” said Francona. “All of a sudden his stuff was better. Now saying that, I thought we had a lot of loud contact today. In one inning, we had about 800 feet of outs to center field.”
Against the Tigers bullpen, the Indians struck with the long ball for the second straight game. In the seventh, catcher Gomes reached base with one out on an error at short by Peralta. After a wild pitch that advanced Gomes to second and after working the count full, Raburn drove a pitch from Luke Putkonen into the left field bullpen for a two-run shot, cutting the Indians deficit to two.
It was the sixth home run of the season for Raburn and his first against his former club. It gave him three runs batted in on the day.
Phil Coke retired all four batters he saw in relief, striking out a pair.
Jose Valverde, as he has of late, made the ninth an adventure. Santana earned a lucky single on a ball dropped by Infante in shallow right field. Gomes saw ten pitches and drew a walk to push Santana along to second. But Raburn and Mike Aviles struck out to end the game and give Valverde his eighth save of the season.
“We’re competing. The results aren’t there right now,” said Francona. “We’re playing from behind a lot, and that’s a hard way to play. If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to keep fighting. It’ll be more fun when we play with a lead, but if we’re not, next choice is to come back and win a game from behind.”
Francona was ejected from the game prior to the bottom half of the eighth inning after home plate umpire Andy Fletcher and first baseman Nick Swisher became engaged in an animated discussion on the field.
With his 0-for-4 at the plate, Swisher is now stuck in an 0-for-24 slump. He had an 0-for-28 skid last season with the Yankees, his career long.
With the loss, the Indians (30-31) fall below the .500 mark for the first time since May 1st, when they were 12-13 after a win against Philadelphia. They now trail the Tigers by four and a half games in the AL Central.
Justin Masterson (8-4, 3.57 ERA) will make the start Sunday after being pushed back from his original date Saturday. He pitched into the seventh inning in his last outing and earned the loss after giving up seven earned runs to the Yankees.
The Tigers will purchase the contract of left-handed pitcher Jose Alvarez from Triple-A Toledo for the start on Sunday, replacing Anibal Sanchez, who was scratched from Sunday’s start with a stiff shoulder. It will be the Major League debut for Alvarez. Octavio Dotel was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster. A corresponding 25-man roster move had yet to be announced.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:08 PM from Comerica Park. Follow the action on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio