Kinsler and Cabrera Make it Rain; Tigers 6, Indians 3

Detroit hit a pair of tie-breaking home runs before rains delayed and ultimately ended the game after just five innings of play as the Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians by a 6-3 score on Wednesday night.

While the loss put a damper on the Indians’ pursuits of the top spot in the American League for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the loss did spare another four innings of work in what again amounted to a bullpen game for the Tribe. Zach McAllister made the start, working two good innings before a pair of relievers ran into trouble with extra base hits.

Cleveland grabbed an early 1-0 lead against Detroit’s Michael Fulmer, one of the leading AL Rookie of the Year candidates. Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk and advanced on a throwing error from Fulmer before Carlos Santana doubled him home to put the Indians on the board.

The Indians put two in scoring position in the second and loaded the bases in the third after a leadoff double from Kipnis and back-to-back walks from Francisco Lindor and Santana, but two outs in the air and another on the ground to second wasted a prime opportunity to add to the score.

Cabrera - Leon Halip/Getty Images
Cabrera – Leon Halip/Getty Images

Detroit jumped quickly in the bottom half of the frame to take the lead after Cleveland’s continued struggles with the bases loaded this season. James McCann hit a second pitch double off of Cody Anderson before Jose Iglesias doubled to left, scoring the Tigers’ first run of the night. Ian Kinsler deposited the next pitch over the wall in left for a two-run homer and Detroit had a 3-1 lead.

The Tribe tied the game up in the top of the fourth and drove Fulmer out of the game. Tyler Naquin singled to right and moved to second on a groundout by Roberto Perez. Rajai Davis singled to center on the next pitch to score Naquin and end Fulmer’s outing. Blaine Hardy entered in relief and walked the first batter he faced, Kipnis, on five pitches before a fly to left by Lindor. With two down, Santana singled to center to score Davis to tie the game. Jose Ramirez grounded out to third to strand the go-ahead run 90 feet from home plate.

Fulmer was credited with three and one-thirds innings of work. He allowed three runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts on the night.

Joe Colon took the mound for the Indians in the fifth and the Tigers put the ball in play with ease. Iglesias singled to right but was forced at second on a grounder from Kinsler. Cameron Maybin singled to left and, on the very next pitch, Cabrera homered the opposite way. The three-run blast to right was his 36th of the season and tied him with Hank Greenberg for third in Tigers history with 306 career homers.

The game featured a pair of rain delays. The first one totaled 45 minutes in the third inning. The latter occurred after the fifth inning was completed and lasted 72 minutes before the game was ultimately called.

Santana - Leon Halip/Getty Images
Santana – Leon Halip/Getty Images

Santana reached base all three trips for the Tribe, going 2-for-2 with a single, double, walk, and two RBI. Cabrera drove in half of the runs for the Tigers on his two-hit night, while Victor Martinez’s hitting streak game to an end for Detroit with his 0-for-3 at the dish.

Hardy was the victor and earned his first win of 2016. Colon took the loss, his third, with three runs allowed in relief. Anderson similarly allowed three in his inning of work.

The Tigers (85-73) kept their Wild Card hopes alive with the victory and will go for their first series win against the Indians this season. They kept pace with the Baltimore Orioles, who won their contest, while pulling within two games of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Indians (91-67) dropped a game back below the .500 mark on the road this season at 38-39.

The season finale between the two clubs will take place at 1:00 PM from Comerica Park on Thursday. The Indians will send rookie left-hander Ryan Merritt (0-0, 1.50 ERA) to the mound to make his first Major League start and fourth appearance overall. Detroit will send their own lefty, Daniel Norris (3-2, 3.59), as the club looks to gain more ground in the Wild Card chase. Norris won his last start against Cleveland and is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA against the Tribe this season.

Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images

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