Game one of Friday’s doubleheader between Cleveland and Detroit came down to an RBI-single in the top of the ninth and a nail-biter finish with the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame in a 3-2 Indians win.
The Tribe made sure game two was nowhere near as close. Two runs in the second, three in the fourth, and five more in the sixth paced starter Mike Clevinger and three arms from the bullpen to a 10-0 victory in the nightcap from Comerica Park as the Indians (78-56) swept their second consecutive doubleheader and increased their winning streak to nine straight games, matching a season-high (July 21-29).
After a routine first inning for both clubs, the Indians got to work against Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer. Edwin Encarnacion drew a leadoff walk and moved to second one out later when Lonnie Chisenhall was plunked by a pitch. After a strikeout by Roberto Perez, Giovanny Urshela worked the count full before doubling to deep right, scoring both base runners to give the Indians an early 2-0 lead.
After retiring the first six in order with three strikeouts, Clevinger faced his first jam of the game in the third. Andrew Romine doubled to start the home half of the inning, but a lineout by JaCoby Jones, a grounder to short from Ian Kinsler, and a strikeout swinging of Alex Presley left Romine stranded at third.
The Tribe offense got back to work in the fourth inning and expanded on its lead. Encarnacion drew a leadoff walk for the second straight plate appearance and moved to second on a single by Carlos Santana. A walk by Chisenhall loaded the bases and Perez delivered a big two-run single to center to score both Encarnacion and Santana to double the Indians’ lead to 4-0 while sending Farmer to the showers with just three-plus innings of work on the night. Blaine Hardy entered and got a big double play ball off of the bat of Urshela to record the first two outs, but with Chisenhall standing at third base, Erik Gonzalez knocked a single to left to make it a 5-0 ball game.
The Indians stranded runners on the corners in the fifth and the Tigers left a Romine double exactly where he stopped with a Jones strikeout by Clevinger to send the game to the sixth. The Indians would send ten men to the plate and erase all doubt.
Perez sent Hardy’s first offering in the sixth just over the wall in left field for a leadoff homer and his second run-scoring hit on the night. Urshela struck out for the first out of the inning, but Gonzalez and Bradley Zimmer reached on a single and a double respectively to put two in scoring position. Jeff Ferrell came on for Hardy, but the scoring flood gates would burst open against the right-hander. Yandy Diaz singled to center to score Gonzalez. Jay Bruce, the only starter who would go without a hit in the game for Cleveland, lofted a sacrifice fly to center to score Zimmer. Diaz came in to score on a double to the gap in left-center by Encarnacion. Santana singled to center to score Encarnacion with the fifth run of the frame to make it a 10-0 game. The ninth man to bat, Chisenhall, singled to right and was lifted for pinch-runner Greg Allen, making his Major League debut. Both runners would move up a base on a passed ball by catcher John Hicks, but Perez would ground out on the next pitch in his second at bat of the inning. Five runs came across on seven hits as Cleveland exploded to a 10-0 lead.
Dan Otero worked a scoreless seventh, giving up a hit while striking out one. Kyle Crockett made his return to the mound for Cleveland in his fifth appearance of the season and fired a scoreless eighth, giving up a pair of hits while striking out one. Nick Goody allowed one hit in the ninth, but struck one out and secured the seven-hit combined shutout.
Clevinger worked six scoreless innings of three-hit, one-walk baseball. He had a strikeout in each of the first five innings before being kept in check in his final inning of work in the sixth. The right-hander has now allowed just one run to the Tigers this season over 18 innings. He struck out six in earning his eighth win of the season.
Farmer took the loss for the Tigers, his second of the year, allowing five runs on three hits with three walks in three-plus innings of work. He is now 0-3 in his career against the Indians with 14 runs allowed on 15 hits in 13 1/3 innings. Detroit would use six pitchers on the night, with the final three providing scoreless innings of one-hit baseball apiece.
The offense was alive and healthy for the Tribe in the nightcap. Gonzalez had three hits for the Indians from the ninth spot in the lineup. Encarnacion reached four times in five trips with two hits and two walks and scored three times. Santana, Perez, and Urshela had two hits each, with Perez driving in three and Urshela a pair. Rookie Francisco Mejia also made his big league debut, filling in as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and flying out to right. Allen grounded out to third on the first pitch he saw at the plate two batters later and got in several innings of work in the outfield.
The Tribe and Tigers will pick things back up Saturday evening in an early 6:10 PM ET start from Comerica Park. Cleveland will look to Corey Kluber (13-4, 2.63 ERA) to extend the team’s winning streak to ten straight. He went eight innings his last time out, giving up just two runs to the New York Yankees while striking out seven in a victory. Detroit will send right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (8-11, 6.08) to the mound, hoping to end his bad stretch against the Indians. He has lost twice to the Tribe this season, allowing nine runs on 13 hits in just eight and two-thirds innings back in July.
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