Tigers Use Long Ball to Chase Carrasco, Defeat Tribe; Tigers 7, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 23, Aug 2020
Three Detroit long balls and strong pitching until the ninth paced the Tigers to a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon.
It was another short outing for Carlos Carrasco, who was shelled in the fourth inning by the Tigers in a quick extra base hit barrage that turned a tie game into a three-run Tribe deficit. Carrasco left after just three and one-third innings and turned the game over to Logan Allen, who allowed the visiting club to tack on three more runs, which loomed large in the ninth when the Indians rallied for three runs in what was by that point a six-run hole.
It was too little too late as the Indians dropped a series they should have won to fall to 17-11 on the season.
The Tigers took an early lead off of Carrasco, but the Indians got the run right back. The Indians’ veteran starter faced six batters in the first as the Tigers manufactured a run after a leadoff double by Victor Reyes. A sacrifice by Willi Castro moved the runner to third and a sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera put the Tigers up an early run. Two more reached as Jeimer Candelario singled and Niko Goodrum walked before Carrasco got a big early strikeout of JaCoby Jones.
Leading off the first against rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal, the Indians knotted the game at one on a leadoff homer from Cesar Hernandez. Skubal struck out a pair and walked Carlos Santana to keep the score even.
Carrasco kept the Tigers at bay in the second and third, allowing only a two-out single in the second by Isaac Paredes. The Indians had a chance in the second when Jordan Luplow led things off with a two-base hit to right-center, but the rookie Skubal in his second big league start struck out the next three swinging.
Skubal got into trouble in the third and got the quick hook from manager Ron Gardenhire. After retiring Hernandez on a fly to right, Jose Ramirez reached on a slow roller to third and stole second. Francisco Lindor was hit by a pitch to bring Gardenhire to the mound for another left-hander, Daniel Norris. He got C. Santana to fly to center for the second out, and with runners standing at the corners, Franmil Reyes grounded into a fielder’s choice to waste another scoring opportunity.
The Tigers pounced quickly on Carrasco in the fourth to send him to an early shower. Goodrum sent the first pitch of the inning over the right field wall for a home run, making it a 2-1 game. Jones drove a 1-0 pitch to left for his eighth double of the season and Jorge Bonifacio crushed the next pitch into the bleachers in center for his first hit and homer of the season, pushing the Tigers’ lead to 4-1. Grayson Greiner lined to short for the first out before Paredes doubled to left to knock Carrasco out for good. Interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. went to his bullpen, bringing on the left-hander L. Allen, who got the next two to leave a runner at second.
Norris kept the Indians off of the scoreboard over his next three innings of work, but he had to work for it. Luplow got his second hit of the game, singling to start the fourth, but he was left at first after two strikeouts and a flyout. After a scoreless fifth from L. Allen, the Indians threatened again in the home half, but could not take advantage of a double by Ramirez and a throwing error by Goodrum that allowed Lindor to reach safely. With runners on the corners and one out, C. Santana fouled out to first before F. Reyes struck out swinging.
The Tigers tacked on with a pair in the sixth against L. Allen. With one out, Greiner homered to left to make it 5-1. The Tribe lefty struck out Paredes for the second out, but he walked V. Reyes and gave up back-to-back singles to Castro and Cabrera to push across the sixth run of the day before Candelario grounded back to the mound.
Norris fired a perfect sixth in his final inning of work and Gregory Soto matched that in the bottom of the seventh before the Tigers added one final run to their daily tally against L. Allen. Greiner drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a single to left by Paredes. V. Reyes grounded into a double play, but Castro came through again against his former club, knocking in Greiner with a single to center to make it 7-1. Buck Farmer handled a perfect eighth for the Tigers to give the team’s pitching staff eleven straight Tribe batters retired.
Dominic Leone struck out three to keep it a six-run hole, squandering a one-out double by Goodrum in the ninth. Joe Jimenez came on to get three outs for Gardenhire, but he was unable to do so as he walked Luplow and pinch-hitter Mike Freeman to start the inning. Yu Chang, pinch-hitting for Beau Taylor, struck out looking for the first out, but Greg Allen put the Indians on the board for the first time since their first batter of the game, catching a changeup down the middle and driving it over the wall in right-center for his first homer of the year, making it a 7-4 game. Gardenhire had seen enough and turned to Jose Cisnero, who struck out Hernandez swinging and got Ramirez to ground to first to earn his first save of the season.
For the third straight start, Carrasco was unable to give the Indians any sort of depth. He did show improved control after fighting the free pass of late (issuing just one walk to the Tigers), but he was tagged for seven hits (two home runs) and four runs with four strikeouts to fall to 2-3 on the year.
“I felt like his pitch distribution was not correct. At times he needed to elevate, and he didn’t. He kept everything down, he didn’t have his breaking ball. He didn’t change eye levels. That’s what I feel,” said Tribe interim manager Alomar Jr. after the game. “He didn’t have his command, his breaking ball. Living down, down, down. Hitters tend to adapt in that area, and they were making good contact. He just needed to trust his fastball more, his four-seamer.”
If there was one good takeaway for Carrasco, it was the reduction in walks. He had issued 12 free passes in his previous 14 2/3 innings coming into the game.
“I don’t know,” Carrasco said about his outing. “I’m losing my slider. I couldn’t throw my slider for a strike. Fastball everywhere. I don’t know what happened there the second time through the lineup.
“All my pitches were there [in the first]. As the game went on, I lost my command on my fastball. It was everywhere. I tried to get it back to where it was before. In the first inning, it was great. They got one run in the first inning, but I felt more aggressive in the first inning than the last three. It was completely different.”
Skubal struck out five in two and one-third innings in his second start in a week. He did not factor in the decision, with the win instead going to Norris for his three and two-third scoreless innings of work. He struck out four and allowed just two hits to prevent the Tribe from getting back into the game.
Luplow and Ramirez accounted for four of the Indians’ six hits on the day. The team went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, with Allen’s one-out blast in the ninth the only successful hit in such opportunities. The Indians stranded seven.
The Tigers had a productive day at the plate from top to bottom. All nine men in their lineup recorded at least one hit on the day. Castro had a pair and drove in a run. Goodrum hit his fourth double and fifth homer, driving in two and drawing a pair of walks. The rookie Paredes tallied his first career three-hit game.
With the series in the books, the Tigers will head out of town while the Indians will await the arrival of their next opponent, the first place Minnesota Twins (19-10). Cleveland will send Aaron Civale and Shane Bieber out for the first two games of the series, with a to-be-determined starter to be selected from Adam Plutko or four minor league options for the series finale on Wednesday. The Twins will tentatively send Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, and Jose Berrios to the rubber in the three 7:10 PM ET starts from Progressive Field.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images