Both clubs endured a nearly two-hour long rain delay prior to kicking off the middle game of a three-game set at Comerica Park. Another low scoring pitchers’ duel ensued, with the Indians tying the game twice during regulation before Detroit walked off with a victory in the third inning of bonus baseball.
Allen, who has pitched with regularity of late and was thought to be unavailable for the game Saturday after the extreme use and being hit by a comebacker in Friday’s win, came on in the 12th inning after a short outing from Zach McAllister in the eleventh. Allen struck out Leonys Martin to open the home half and got Nicholas Castellanos to ground to short on five quick pitches, but Miguel Cabrera singled to center with two down. Candelario, who had an opportunity to win the game in the tenth, stepped back in and took a pair of pitches out of the zone before getting a four-seamer up that he drove 415 feet to right for the game winner.
The Indians’ (33-29) lead in the division moved back to four games with the defeat at the hands of the Tigers (31-35).
The celebration for the Tigers ended a long day at the ball park where both clubs wore Negro Leagues jerseys honoring some of the teams to call each respective city home. Detroit donned the uniforms of the Stars, while Cleveland recognized the successful Buckeyes club, as both have done over the years.
The Tigers took the lead in the first inning for the second time in the series, after the Indians wasted a pair of one-out singles in the first by hitting into a double play. With Mike Clevinger on the mound, his walk issues resurfaced as he gave a free pass to Martin to start his outing. Martin stole a pair of bases off of Yan Gomes around a pop out by Castellanos and he was joined on the bases after a walk by Cabrera. With runners on the corners, Candelario struck out swinging, but Victor Martinez singled to left to score the game’s first run.
Detroit starter Mike Fiers retired the side in order in the second, but Gomes began the third with a big swing, sending a fastball into the left field bullpen for a game-tying solo home run.
After giving up the RBI-single in the first, Clevinger found a much better groove on the mound. He retired James McCann to end that inning and set down the side in order in the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. He extended his streak to 17 straight retired when he struck out Candelario to start the seventh before Martinez singled to center for his second hit of the game. Victor Reyes pinch-ran and moved to second on a single by McCann and an infield single by JaCoby Jones loaded the bases for Jose Iglesias, who drew the walk to force in the go-ahead run, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Clevinger got Dixon Machado to fly to right and reliever Oliver Perez got a pop out to second from Martin to leave the bases loaded.
The Indians responded on the very first pitch threw by a Tigers reliever on the day. Former Tiger Rajai Davis led off the eighth and jumped on the first offering from right-hander Louis Coleman, hitting a low screamer over the wall in left for the game-tying home run, his first of the year. The Indians would get another base runner in the inning on a one-out single by Michael Brantley, but would be unable to get him in.
Neil Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth for the Tribe and returned for the bottom of the ninth after a 1-2-3 inning from Detroit closer Shane Greene. He worked around a runner in scoring position as Reyes singled to center and stole second, but McCann lined out, Jones grounded out, and Iglesias popped out to leave the winning run a hit away from scoring while sending the game to extras.
Buck Farmer retired the side in order in the top of the tenth, bringing Dan Otero to the mound for the Tribe in what nearly was the final frame of the game. Martin singled with one out and Castellanos followed with a base hit, moving the speedy Martin to third. Cabrera was intentionally walked to set up force plays and a double play possibility. Candelario stepped in with the chance to win it, but lined out to Francisco Lindor at short for the second out. Reyes grounded to the hole between third and short, and Lindor fired to Jose Ramirez at third for the force there to send the game to the eleventh.
Farmer walked the first two of the eleventh, but Warwick Saupold got the next three outs in the air, including a popped up bunt by Lonnie Chisenhall. McAllister struck out the first two in the bottom half before a triple by Iglesias, but he got Machado to fly to center. Saupold got three straight grounders to work through a quick 12th before Candelario played the hero. Saupold’s efforts would earn him his fourth win of the year, while Allen took his third loss.
TALE OF TWO CLEVINGERS
Clevinger had a tough time in his first and final frames of the day, but in between, he was unhittable. He worked six and two-thirds innings in another no-decision, allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Every run, hit, and walk came in either the first inning or the seventh inning, as he retired 17 straight batters in between hits from Martinez.
FIERS FRUSTRATES TRIBE
Fiers has had the Indians’ number before and the softer-tossing right-hander did it again on Saturday, holding the Tribe to a run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts on 108 pitches. The lone damage done against him was the home run by Gomes and he left in position to win, but the first pitch from Coleman changed his outing to a no-decision on Davis’ homer.
It was a day of mixed results at the plate for Ramirez, who went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk. In those other three at bats, he did something that he rarely does – strike out – going down on Ks three times for the first time in a game since April 26 against Seattle. It was just the fifth time in his career that he earned the hat trick (once in 2014, twice in 2017, twice now in 2018).
On the year, Ramirez has struck out 32 times in 274 plate appearances.
Edwin Encarnacion did not play on Saturday, one game after appearing to roll his ankle leaving the batter’s box after a ninth inning pop up in the infield. Kipnis left the game in the bottom of the 12th with neck and back issues.
Corey Kluber (9-2, 1.96 ERA) will look to bring the Indians their first series win in Detroit this year in the rubber match with the Tigers on Sunday. He will face righty Artie Lewicki (0-1, 3.86), who pitched well in a long relief appearance earlier this season against the Indians.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET from downtown Detroit.
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images