A hard fought pitchers’ dual by both clubs was decided by an eighth inning sacrifice fly as the Detroit Tigers edged the Cleveland Indians by a 1-0 decision on Wednesday night.
Jose Urena and Triston McKenzie matched up nicely in a close contest as both hurlers kept offensive threats to a minimum for much of the night. There were the usual missed opportunities along the way, which proved all the more costly in the one-run final.
The Indians tried to manufacture early runs but came up short. With two outs in the first, Jose Ramirez drew a four-pitch walk, but was caught stealing on a 2-1 pitch to Eddie Rosario. Rosario singled to start the second but was forced out at second on the front end of a double play grounder by Harold Ramirez. Josh Naylor followed with a single to right, but he was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double to center by Owen Miller.
Cleveland needed some innings and some better results from McKenzie and he provided them. He set down the Tigers in order in the first before walking Nomar Mazara with one down in the second. He was erased on a double play ball.
The Indians put on a pair in the third, but again could not come through. Jake Bauers opened the frame with a walk before a strikeout by Rene Rivera. Cesar Hernandez fouled out to deep left, but Bauers was able to advance to second. Jordan Luplow was hit by a pitch to put two on for J. Ramirez, but he flied to right to leave two.
McKenzie locked in on the mound for the next five batters that he faced, striking out each of them before a four-pitch walk in the fourth by Jeimer Candelario. Miguel Cabrera could not get the job done, flying to right.
Urena set down the Tribe in order for the first time in the fourth and fifth, while McKenzie had to squeeze out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth. Jonathan Schoop singled with one out and moved to second on a walk by Akil Baddoo, but he got the next two men to fly to left to escape unscathed.
Urena got the first two men in the sixth, but he walked J. Ramirez and exited with a forearm injury with Rosario at the plate. Jose Cisnero came on and after getting time to warm up, he uncorked a wild pitch to move the runner to second before getting Rosario to pop out to third.
Cal Quantrill took over after McKenzie’s five-and-fly and came out on fire, striking out Robbie Grossman, Harold Castro, and Candelario swinging. Cisnero worked around a two-out infield single by Miller in the seventh, while Quantrill got the first two men in the bottom half before a single by Schoop. Baddoo grounded to first to leave the man at first.
Michael Fulmer pitched a scoreless eighth out of the bullpen, putting on Luplow with a two-out walk before striking out J. Ramirez swinging.
The game was decided in the bottom of the inning. Niko Goodrum sent a 2-1 pitch back into center for a double and Jake Rogers moved him to third with a sacrifice. Grossman lofted the next pitch to center deep enough to get the runner across to put the first run of the day on the board. H. Castro flied to center to end the inning.
Down to their final three outs, the Tribe put the tying run on the bases as Rosario drew a leadoff walk against closer Gregory Soto. H. Ramirez struck out swinging on three pitches for the first out. Naylor took a pair of balls before fouling off a pitch. The 2-1 offering was lined to short for the second out, but Rosario was doubled up at first to end the game.
Cleveland dropped to 26-21 on the year and 15-12 on the road. Detroit improved to 19-30 on the season and 10-14 from Comerica Park.
McKenzie made it through five scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and walking three while striking out the five batters in a row in a 73-pitch effort and no-decision. Quantrill looked good, throwing two-thirds of his pitches for strikes, but it was the late double and manufactured run that came back to cost him in his first loss of the season in a three-inning relief outing.
Urena exited after five and two-thirds, giving up just three hits while walking three and striking out two. The bullpen behind him combined for three and one-third innings of one-hit baseball.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images