Three Solo Blasts Back Civale in Tribe Victory; Indians 4, Tigers 2

Aaron Civale gave Cleveland seven quality innings on the mound while the Indians used three solo home runs to defeat the Detroit Tigers by a 4-2 final on Wednesday night.

Detroit got a surprisingly strong start from Jordan Zimmermann, who overcame career-long struggles against the Indians with a quality start. He left with the game tied as the Tigers evened up the score with a solo homer in the sixth, but Civale lasted one more inning and landed in the win column after Francisco Lindor’s 24th homer of the season put Cleveland back in front late.

The Indians were the first to put a run on the scoreboard, doing so in the second after leaving Lindor at second following his leadoff single and a stolen base in the first. Jason Kipnis stepped in against Zimmermann to start the second frame and fouled off a pair of pitches before driving a 1-2 slider over the wall in right for his 15th homer, putting the Tribe in front by a 1-0 count.

Kipnis – Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Civale was the beneficiary of several double plays in the first half of the game. Victor Reyes’ leadoff single in the first was wiped out on a double play grounder by Gordon Beckham. John Hicks reached on error in the third with one out, but Reyes grounded into a 6-3 DP. Beckham was involved again in the fourth as his leadoff single went for naught as Ronny Rodriguez doubled him up with a grounder around the horn to close out the inning.

The Tigers got a surprise big fly in the bottom of the fifth to even up the score as Dawel Lugo popped a 2-2 pitch over the fence in left for his third homer of the campaign, tying the game at one.

Both clubs traded off runs in the sixth. Lindor doubled but was ruled out at second on the throw. Replay overturned the call. Greg Allen sacrificed the runner to third and he scored on a single to left-center by Carlos Santana to put the Indians back on top, 2-1. In the bottom of the inning, Hicks singled and Reyes doubled to put runners on second and third. Beckham struck out on a beauty of a pitch off of the plate for the first out, but former Indians prospect Willi Castro lofted a fly ball just deep enough to center to score Hicks to respond to the Tribe score to retie the game at two.

In the seventh, Gregory Soto got a double play ball to make up for a four-pitch walk of Franmil Reyes to open his outing. He pitched a scoreless inning and Civale countered with a 1-2-3 bottom half in his final inning of work on the night for Cleveland. Buck Farmer entered in relief for the top of the eighth and struck out Yu Chang, but Lindor bounced a home run off of the yellow line atop the wall in center to give the Indians a 3-2 lead.

Nick Goody allowed the tying run to get on base to open the bottom of the eighth as Jordy Mercer singled, but a strikeout by Hicks before back-to-back outs in the air by Reyes and Beckham left an important run at first.

The Indians got a big insurance run in the ninth against former All-Star reliever Joe Jimenez. Leading off the inning, Kipnis found a 3-1 four-seamer and belted it over the wall for his second homer of the night and 16th of the year, padding the Indians lead at 4-2. Brad Hand came on for the save and worked a perfect inning, getting Castro to ground to third, Rodriguez to strike out swinging, and Lugo to fly to right.

Civale – Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Indians (78-55) kept pace with the victorious Minnesota Twins in the division, remaining three and a half games in back. They have won 13 straight games against the Tigers and are 14-1 against them on the season with four left to play. Detroit dropped to 39-91 on the season with its fourth straight defeat.

Civale was not necessarily dominating on the mound, but he got timely help along the way. He worked seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He had three double play balls behind him to minimize any potential damage that could have come his way. Hand earned his 32nd save with a strong ninth.

Zimmermann pitched arguably his best game against the Indians in his career, but came away empty handed as the rookie Civale matched him on the mound. He lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He relied heavily on a new sinker that he recently added to his pitching arsenal. Farmer and Jimenez both allowed the game to get away from there, as the pair each allowed a run on two hits in single innings of work.

Lindor went 3-for-5 in the game with a pair of runs scored and his 24th homer of the season. Santana and Kipnis each added a pair of hits, with Kipnis notching his seventh career two-homer game (and his third of the year).

Tribe manager Terry Francona announced prior to the game that pitcher Carlos Carrasco, who has not pitched at the Major League level since May 30 while dealing with a battle with leukemia, will be activated on Sunday from the 60-day injured list. He is expected to work out of the Cleveland bullpen.

The series finale from Comerica Park is scheduled for a 1:10 PM ET start on Thursday afternoon. The Tigers will send out left-hander Daniel Norris (3-10, 4.70 ERA), while the Indians will counter with rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (7-4, 3.40).

Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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