Baserunning Mistakes, Cabrera’s Big Day Give Tigers Series Win; Tigers 8, Indians 6

Did the Tribe Win Last Night? No. The Tigers scored twice in the first and never trailed, beating the Indians 8-6 on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of the three game series.

In his second start since being hit in the jaw by a line drive in a game against the Chicago White Sox on April 14, Carlos Carrasco pitched 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. He walked two, struck out five, and found himself pitching out of jams all afternoon.

Ryan Raburn remained hot at the plate for the Tribe, going 2-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI. However, he was also thrown out at third base twice on plays that could have changed the outcome of the game.

WP: Lobstein (2-1) LP: Carrasco (2-2) SV: Soria (7)

Key Innings: Trailing 2-0 in the second, Raburn followed Carlos Santana‘s leadoff single with a drive into the right field corner. With third base coach Mike Sarbaugh waving Santana home, Raburn slightly hesitated as he rounded second base looking for Sarbaugh’s instruction. Raburn went for the triple and third base umpire Chad Fairchild called him out in a bang-bang play at the bag. Francona challenged, but the replay was inconclusive and Fairchild’s call was upheld. If Raburn was safe at third or if he opted to stay at second, the Indians would have had a runner in scoring position with no outs, trailing 2-1.

Raburn found himself on the losing end of another close call at third base in the fourth with the Tigers leading 3-1. With Brandon Moss and Raburn at the corners with one out, Lonnie Chisenhall hit a grounder to first basemen Miguel Cabrera, who saw Raburn already halfway to home plate. Cabrera fired the ball to Detroit catcher James McCann, who chased Raburn back to third before tossing to Nick Castellanos to apply the tag ahead of a diving Raburn. Several Cleveland players petitioned for a challenge, but Francona had already lost the ability to challenge any additional calls in the game when he lost the first challenge involving Raburn. After watching multiple replay angles, it appeared that there wouldn’t have been enough evidence to overturn the call anyways.

Player of the Game: Miguel Cabrera. The two-time MVP and 2012 AL Triple Crown winner continues to own the Tribe big time. Cabrera singled in the first and again in the third, before smacking a two-out, two-run home run in the sixth to extend Detroit’s lead to 7-2. Cabrera, who added a RBI sac fly in the eighth, is hitting .682 (15-22) with three home runs and nine RBI against the Indians this season. Over the last two seasons, he’s batting .474 (46/97) against the Tribe.

They Said It: “He destroys everybody, but he really destroys the Indians,” said Al Pawlowski after the game on Cabrera’s absolute dominance of Cleveland.

Standings: Cleveland drops to 6-11 on the season and is six games back of first place Kansas City, while Detroit improves to 13-6 and moves into a tie with the Royals.

Etc: Cleveland almost recorded a rare 5-4-3 triple play in the second, but Rajai Davis beat out the throw to first by a half step.

Scott Atchison had not allowed a run this season with the opposition hitting just .086 (2-23) against him, before Cabrera took him deep in the sixth. Atchison pitched 1.2 innings (2 H, 2 ER, 1 K) after relieving Carrasco in the fifth with the bases loaded, one out, and the Tribe trailing 5-2.

David Murphy hit a pinch hit home run in the ninth, his second of the season.

Nick Swisher was 2-4 with a double and run scored in game two of the Columbus Clippers doubleheader sweep of the Louisville Bats on Sunday. Swisher is hitting .556 (5-9) in two rehab starts with Columbus.

Analysis: When Cabrera is in the Tigers lineup, the Indians chances of winning are slim if they can’t find a way to limit his damage.

Offensively, the Indians are not there yet. Michael Bourn, who was moved to the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the first time in his career, looked frustrated at the plate in every at bat. Moss (2-3, 2 RBI) and Santana (2-3, RBI) had solid games and appear to be coming around.

Bad baserunning overshadowed another good day for Raburn (2-4, 2B, RBI), who has 10 hits in his last 17 at-bats. However, it’s tough to fault him for trying to spark a struggling offense trailing on the road.

Up Next: The Indians return to Progressive Field to open a three game series with the Kansas City Royals on Monday night – first pitch is 6:10pm ET. Corey Kluber (0-2, 3.90) will look to bounce back after giving up six runs against the White Sox on Monday. Lefty Jason Vargas (0-1, 6.75) is scheduled to start for the feisty Royals, who make their way to Cleveland following another benches-clearing brawl against the White Sox on Thursday night. The fight led to five ejections and six suspensions.

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