Tribe Takes Lead Early, Erupts Late in Rout; Indians 10, Tigers 1
Bob Toth | On 27, Aug 2019
The Indians backed starter Adam Plutko with a three-run first and tacked on six runs in the seventh as Cleveland routed the Detroit Tigers by a 10-1 count on Tuesday night.
Cleveland got a career-high nine strikeouts from Plutko, who allowed just a run on three hits with two walks over five and two-thirds innings. The bullpen did the rest of the job to silence the Tigers, while the Tribe bats took advantage of some timely two-out hitting all night long.
Spencer Turnbull was on the mound for the Tigers, making his fifth start of the season against the Indians while looking to improve upon a tough 0-4 mark in five games against the Indians in his career, including all four of those losses this season with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP in four starts. While the night started with a five-pitch swinging strikeout of Francisco Lindor and a seven-pitch groundout to short by Oscar Mercado, the Indians’ success with two outs on the night began as Carlos Santana capped an eight-pitch battle with a single to right. Yasiel Puig pounced on the next pitch and hit a drive to deep center, scoring Santana from first on the RBI-double to give the Indians the early lead. Jason Kipnis expanded on that number three pitches later as he belted a two-run homer, his 14th, to right to make it a 3-0 game. Franmil Reyes grounded to short to end the inning.
Plutko pitched a perfect first, but the Indians were unable to add to their lead in the top of the second as their two-out rally efforts fell flat. Tyler Naquin reached for the first of four straight times on the night when he was plunked by a two-out slider. Lindor doubled to right, moving Naquin to third, but Mercado grounded to short to strand a pair.
The Tigers got on the board in the bottom half of the inning to cut into the Indians’ advantage. With one down, Dawel Lugo doubled to left and former Cleveland farmhand Ronny Rodriguez delivered with an RBI-single to center to make it a 3-1 game. Plutko walked a pair with two outs in the inning, but he got Victor Reyes to line out to center to leave the tying runs on base.
The Indians responded with a run in the next half inning. Santana reached on a ground rule double to center. Puig walked before Kipnis struck out swinging for the first out. Reyes loaded the bases with a five-pitch walk and Mike Freeman pushed one across on a sacrifice fly to left to give the Indians a 4-1 lead. Puig was caught trying to steal third on a questionable call to end the inning.
Plutko shut down the Tigers over the next few innings. He struck out the side in the third and added two more for the final two outs of the fourth. He struck out two more to start the bottom of the fifth before getting Reyes to ground out to first.
Turnbull settled down and avoided some trouble as he got a double play ball to erase a single by Naquin in the fourth and he worked around a two-out double by Puig by getting Kipnis to fly out to left.
The Indians loaded the bases in the sixth as Nick Ramirez took over on the mound for Detroit, but the team could not score. Reyes doubled to center to start the inning and after a grounder by Freeman moved the runner to third, Roberto Perez and Naquin each drew walks to load the bases for the second time on the night. Unlike their first time hitting with the bags full, this one ended in disaster as Lindor grounded into a double play.
Cleveland broke the game open with a gigantic effort in the seventh in Ramirez’s second inning of work. Mercado fouled out to start the Tribe’s at bats, but Santana got on with a single to center. Puig fouled out for the second out before the Indians’ rally began. Kipnis grounded back to Ramirez, but the ball kicked off of him and over to third, allowing the Tribe second baseman to reach on a generous error. Reyes followed with a majestic bomb 436 feet to center for his fourth homer in the last three games to break the game open at 7-1. Freeman reached on an infield single to Dixon at first, as Ramirez did not get to the bag in time. Freeman moved to second on a wild pitch, but that point would be moot as Perez blasted a 435-foot shot of his own to left for his 21st homer of the season, giving the Indians a 9-1 edge. David McKay took over and promptly walked Naquin on four straight before Lindor doubled him home with a shot to left to give the Indians a six-run inning. Mercado flied out to make the first and third outs in the inning.
Cimber retired the side in order in the seventh and Tyler Clippard pitched an impressive eighth inning in his underrated season, striking out all three batters swinging. Phil Maton struck out John Hicks to open the ninth before getting Castro to ground to short and Lugo to fly to center to end the lopsided affair.
The Indians (77-55) got back into the win column and opened their series at Comerica Park on the right note, hoping to at least keep pace with the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. The hapless Tigers (39-90) have dropped three in a row.
Plutko pitched well throughout the night and was able to get his strikeout pitch working effectively as he hit a new personal best with nine batters K’d on the day. He lasted five and two-thirds innings, giving up just three hits and two walks while allowing one to touch home plate. The bullpen provided three and one-third innings of perfect relief, striking out six to give the Indians 15 in the game.
The loss for Turnbull dropped him to 3-13 on the season, but more notably, 0-5 against Cleveland this season. He was charged with four runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts on the night. The bullpen did little to help his cause, as they were tagged for six more runs to let the Indians run away with the victory. All five runs charged to Ramirez were unearned after his error in the seventh.
Naquin reached in each of his first four plate appearances before he was finally retired in the ninth. He had a hit, two walks, and a hit by pitch while scoring once. Santana went 3-for-5 on the game with two singles and a double and he scored three times. Reyes drove in three runs with his two hits and walked two more times to reach base safely in four of his five trips. Puig and Lindor also had two hits for the Tribe.
The Tigers lost slugger Miguel Cabrera after two at bats with left biceps tightness. The move was deemed precautionary as it was the same biceps muscle that he tore in 2018.
Prior to the game, the Indians announced the outcome of Jose Ramirez’s surgery. The two-time All-Star third baseman will miss five to seven weeks, taking him out of consideration for the remainder of the regular season.
Game two of three from Comerica Park is scheduled for a 7:10 PM ET start on Wednesday night. The Tigers will call upon veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (1-9, 6.48 ERA), who will look to end a long run of struggles against Cleveland. The Indians will turn to rookie right-hander Aaron Civale (1-3, 1.82). He opened his Major League career with six shutout innings against the Tigers on June 22, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out six.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images