Logan Allen settled down after a rough first inning to give Cleveland five strong innings on the mound while his offense gave him just enough support for his first victory as an Indian in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland won its fourth straight game, improving to 5-3 and moving into first place in the American League Central courtesy of a balanced game that saw contributions from all parts of the roster. Allen did his part to keep his teammates in the game before the bullpen contained a Tigers lineup that refused to go away. The Tribe offense chipped in with some early run support and added on two big runs late thanks to some bad throwing decisions by Detroit right fielder Nomar Mazara.
The Tigers threatened quickly in the afternoon. Allen’s second pitch of the game plunked Robbie Grossman. He later came around to score after a one-out walk by Niko Goodrum and a two-out RBI-single from Jeimer Candelario. Allen dodged further trouble after walking Wilson Ramos to load the bases by striking out Jonathan Schoop to leave the bags full.
Jose Urena got the start for Detroit, but after striking out a pair in the first, he ran into command troubles in the second. Eddie Rosario fouled off three straight pitches in a seven-pitch at bat before blooping in a hustle double to left. He caught Urena napping and swiped third to put the tying run 90 feet away. Franmil Reyes and Amed Rosario walked around a strikeout by Josh Naylor to load the bases. Jake Bauers bounced into a fielder’s choice to second, allowing E. Rosario to score on the force at second base to tie the game at one. Austin Hedges stepped in with runners on the corners, but fouled out in front of the Cleveland dugout.
Allen walked a batter in an otherwise quiet third before the Tribe bats struck for another run to take the lead in the home half of the frame. Andres Gimenez doubled into the right field corner and Cesar Hernandez ripped a single to right to score his double play partner, moving the Indians on top, 2-1. E. Rosario drew a walk later in the frame before Reyes grounded into a double play.
Allen faced the minimum in his final two innings of work, giving up a single in the fourth before being the beneficiary of a double play ball himself. Cleveland knocked out Urena after two more walks in the fourth and fifth frames, but the lineup was unable to tack on.
Daniel Norris handled the final out of the fifth for Urena, but he quickly ran into trouble in the sixth. Reyes opened the inning with an opposite field double to the right field wall. A single through the left side by Naylor put runners on the corners. A. Rosario grounded to short to start a double play, but Reyes scored with a key run to give the Indians a 3-1 lead.
Bryan Shaw pitched a perfect sixth, but Nick Wittgren was greeted rudely in the seventh by Ramos. He drove a high fastball to the bullpens in center to cut the Tigers’ deficit down to one run in a 3-2 game. James Karinchak gave the Tribe a little scare in the eighth, as he walked the leadoff man Grossman. Grossman later swiped second, but Karinchak allowed him to move no further, striking out the next three in order to leave the tying run in scoring position.
Cleveland got some help from the Detroit defense in the bottom of the eighth as the Tigers provided the Tribe with several big insurance runs. Jose Ramirez drew a leadoff walk against Jose Cisnero. E. Rosario singled sharply through the hole and into right field, but Mazara’s throw to third missed the first cutoff man and was misplayed by Candelario at third, allowing Rosario to scoot up to second on the E9. Reyes singled through the pulled in infield to score Ramirez, and on another high throw from Mazara, Rosario scored from third as the ball sailed to the backstop to give Cleveland a 5-2 edge. Gregory Soto entered in relief and walked Naylor before punching out the next three swinging.
Emmanuel Clase got the call as the fourth reliever of the afternoon for manager Terry Francona. Looking for his second save of the series, he walked Candelario to begin his outing. After striking out Ramos for the first out, Schoop reached on a single to put a pair on while bringing the tying run to the plate in Mazara. Wiht a chance to atone for his two errors in the previous half inning, he instead grounded into a double play for the second time on the day, ending the ball game.
Detroit dropped to 3-6 on the season and 0-3 on the road. The Tigers are now 2-4 against the Indians on the year.
Allen worked a steady five-and-fly in a 92-pitch effort. After battling through another tough first inning, he settled in and allowed just two hits and three walks on the day while striking out five to move to 1-1 on the season. The four relievers behind him worked four innings of one-run baseball, allowing two more hits and two walks while striking out six.
Urena dropped to 0-2 on the year with his second straight loss. He lasted two outs into the fifth, giving up two runs on three hits. Command was his issue, as he walked five along with his four strikeouts.
The top six hitters in the lineup did the heavy lifting for the Tribe on Sunday. Rosario and Reyes each had a pair of hits, with the latter extending his hitting streak to seven straight. Rosario hit his first double and had a pair of runs scored.
Schoop had two of the Tigers’ four hits on the day. Ramos’ homer was his fourth of the season, all of which have been solo jobs.
The Tigers played without the heart and soul of their lineup, Miguel Cabrera, who was placed on the 10-day injured list prior to the game with a strained left biceps. The contract of Renato Nunez was selected from Detroit’s alternate training site to fill Cabrera’s spot on the roster and he hit cleanup for Detroit on Sunday, going 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts.
Both teams will hit the road for tough series this week. The Tigers will head to Houston, where former Astros manager AJ Hinch will make his return to Minute Maid Park in the dugout for the first time since he was fired for the club’s sign-stealing scandal of a few years ago. The Tribe will head west to Chicago, where they will start a four-game series with the White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field. Triston McKenzie (0-0, 2.45 ERA) will make his first start of the season and his second appearance overall against veteran left-hander Carlos Rodon (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Monday night.
Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)