Did the Tribe Win Last Night? No! After falling behind early the Indians fought back to take the lead 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning and to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the normally reliable Indians bullpen could not hold the lead. Detroit used a four run ninth inning to win 9-6.
Corey Kluber started for the Indians and allowed a leadoff home run to Anthony Gose and another run on three more hits in the first inning. Kluber did settle down to stifle the Tigers’ offense through six and one-third inning and not allowing another run. However, the Indians bullpen could not help the cause. Detroit abused the Tribe’s pen to the tune of seven runs in two and two-third innings.
With the game tied in the top of the ninth Cody Allen lacked command and control and Detroit took advantage, tallying four runs to take a 9-5 lead. The Tribe could only muster one run in the bottom half of the frame, ending the hopes of their third comeback of the evening.
WP: Krol (1-0) LP: Allen (0-1)
Key Inning: Top of the seventh inning. After just taking the lead 3-2, Detroit would not let Cleveland settle in to control of the game. Instead the Tigers came right back and re-took the lead.
After Kluber struck out Nick Castellanos, Indians manager opted for Marc Rzepczynski to match up against Alex Avila. James McCann pinch-hit and hit a bloop over the infield and Austin Romine walked before Bryan Shaw entered the game. Rajai Davis pinch-hit and lined out before Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each singled in a run to make it 5-3, Tigers.
Scott Atchison had to relieve Shaw to complete the inning and Cleveland would never be able to retake the lead.
Player of the Game: Jerry Sands was 3-for-4, with four runs batted in during his Tribe debut. Sands hit a two-run double to give the Indians the lead in the sixth inning and another two-run double in the eighth inning to help the Tribe tie the game at five apiece.
His four runs batted in was a career high and his hits were his first as a member of the Tribe since having his contract purchased on Friday. Sands was added to the roster for a right-handed bat off the bench while Michael Brantley continues to nurse an injured back.
Standings: Cleveland drops to 2-3, while Detroit moves to 5-0. The Indians slide to three games back in the standings already and find themselves chasing the Tigers and Kansas City Royals.
Etc.: Brantley did not play on Saturday and Francona admitted on Saturday that he should probably have not played in the home opener on Friday. The Tribe’s best hitter was sidelined after his back flared again late in Friday’s game. His injury is still considered day-to-day and allowed Sands the opportunity to get into Saturday’s lineup.
Worse yet on the injury front, Yan Gomes was injured in the ninth inning when Davis slid hard into the plate. Gomes could not put pressure on his right leg as he was helped from the field. It’s being ruled a sprained right knee, but sources have told DTTWLN that Brett Hayes is heading to Cleveland, indicating that Gomes could be headed to the disabled list.
It is believed Shaun Marcum and Austin Adams could be added to the roster as early as Sunday.
Analysis: The Tigers continue to dominate the Indians at Progressive Field. This game felt like Cleveland was running up hill all afternoon. Each time the Indians would fight and claw their way back into the game, big brother Detroit flexed their muscle and re-took control of the lead. The perennial power of the American League Central Division still has their control of the upstart Tribe.
If Cleveland wants to slow the Tigers’ offense down, they need to find an answer for Miguel Cabrera. While most teams don’t have an answer, Cabrera totally dominates the Tribe. In 135 games against Cleveland, Cabrera hits .360 and has 35 home runs. He added to that with four more hits today.
Up Next: Sunday the Indians will try to salvage the final game of the series when left-hander T.J. House (5-3, 3.35) makes his first start of the year against Detroit’s own southpaw, Kyle Lobstein (1-2, 4.35 in 2014). Lobstein allowed just two runs in 5.1 innings in a September 2014 start against the Tribe.
Cleveland will likely be forced to salvage the game without Brantley, Gomes and a now fried bullpen.
Photo: Mark Duncan/AP Photo