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The Indians spotted Detroit an early 4-0 lead tonight, then got back in the game on Carlos Santana’s 18th homer and a two-run double by Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 4-3 in the third, but that was all of the offense off of Justin Verlander (17-5), Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde as the Tigers won for the first time in Cleveland in 14 tries to increase their lead to three games over the Tribe.
Cleveland was held to three hits, but came within a couple of feet of taking the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Santana drove Austin Jackson to the wall in center with one on and one out, where Jackson made a great catch on a ball that looked as if it might hit the yellow stripe.
That was really the last chance the Indians had, as Verlander worked seven innings and Benoit and Valverde each pitched a perfect inning to close it out.
Valverde stayed perfect on the year in save opportunities with save number 33.
Fausto Carmona (5-12) had a rough beginning to the game, but seemed to be galvanized by a line drive into a double play in the third which kept Detroit at four runs, and Fausto ended up working seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, with two walks and six K’s.
Speaking of strikeouts, the Tigers rung up 13 Indians, including 10 from Verlander.
Detroit scored in the first without the benefit of a hit, when Jackson reached second on an error leading off the game, moved to third on a grounder, and scored on a sac fly from Magglio Ordonez.
Santana’s homer to right-center brought Cleveland within 4-1 in the second, and Cabrera’s two-out double in the third brought the Indians to the cusp of tying the game. But Travis Hafner fanned to end the inning — and the scoring for this night.
So the Tribe takes two-of-three from the Tigers and ends a stretch of ten straight games against the three American League division leaders at 5-5 (with seven of those games having been on the road).
So yes, a loss is a loss is a loss. But with Verlander, fighting back and making a game of it, even with a limited offensive production, is at least a moral victory.
Now Minnesota comes to town for three games this weekend, and folks, the Indians need to win this series against the Twins. Remember that the Tribe lost two-of-three at home to last-place Kansas City before beginning this tough 10-game stretch.
Well, the Twins are in fourth place, 10 games out and 13 games under .500. There is no excuse — after the fine baseball the Tribe played against the leaders of every division — for Cleveland not to keep their focus and take care of business vs. the always-pesky Twins.
So we will shake this one off, tip our caps to the possible Cy Young Award winner this year…and hopefully get ’em tomorrow.
Maybe even the best in the American League.
Carmona (5-11, 5.19 ERA) has won only once since June 15, but the Tribe did win in his last time out, although Carmona did not get the decision. In fact, in Fausto’s last five starts, the Indians are 4-1, although he is only 1-1 over that span.
Carmona beat the Tigers in Detroit on June 15, allowing two earned runs in five innings of a 6-4 Cleveland win in his only appearance of the season vs. Detroit. The victory moved Carmona to 8-4 in his career against the Tigers, with a 3.48 ERA in 101 innings.
So Carmona, even against a Verlander, has some solid history against tonight’s opponent to draw on.
Verlander (16-5, 2.30 ERA) is capable of throwing a no-hitter any time he takes the mound, so certainly do not look for a reprise of last night’s 18-hit Cleveland attack. Verlander already has one hitless game to his credit this year, having blanked the Blue Jays in Toronto on May 7.
This will be Verlander’s second appearance vs. the Tribe in 2011, and in his first time out, he shut the Indians out on two hits on June 14 in Detroit, fanning 12 and walking only one.
Verlander has gone 14-2 since April 27, and for his career is 11-11 against Cleveland with a 4.82 ERA in 157 innings.
Once the Indians get past this daunting hurdle tonight, they will return to action on Friday night at 7:05 vs. the Minnesota Twins for the start of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
Jason Kipnis went 5-for-5 with a homer and a double, Cleveland totaled seven doubles among their 18 hits and went 7-for-15 with men in scoring position, and Ubaldo Jimenez went eight strong innings with only one rough patch, as the Indians made it two straight in this series and 13 straight at home over Detroit with an impressive 10-3 victory on Wednesday night.
Kipnis became the first Indians' rookie since 1952 to score four runs and collect five hits in a single game, and that not long after he tied a Tribe rookie record with homers in four straight games. Not bad, kid, not too bad at all.
Jimenez (1-0, 5.54 ERA) showed a little bit of why he can be considered an ace, working out of a couple of jams along the way and not faltering after his one bad inning.
The Indians got off to a quick start in this one, scoring right away in the first inning. With one out, Kipnis singled, and with two outs, moved to third on a single from Travis Hafner. Carlos Santana delivered the big two-out hit with a single, and the Tribe led 1-0.
The second inning saw the Tribe go up by four. With one out, Lonnie Chisenhall doubled, and after Lou Marson’s grounder moved Chisenhall to third, Cleveland produced some more two-out magic, when Ezequiel Carrera doubled to make it 2-0. And then Kipnis delivered his sixth homer of the year with a blast to right, doubling the lead to 4-0.
After Jimenez worked out of a jam in the third inning wherein the first two Tigers reached, Detroit got back in the game in the fourth when Ryan Raburn’s triple scored Victor Martinez, and recently acquired Wilson Betemit drove in two more with a double, and suddenly the Tribe’s margin was just 4-3.
But in the bottom of the fourth, the Indians got it all right back and then some. Marson led off with a double, and, with one out, Kipnis drove in his third run of the night with a single to make it 5-3. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled, and when the ball was misplayed in center by Andy Dirks, Kipnis scored and Cabrera went all the way to third. Cabrera then scored on a Rick Porcello (11-7, 4.93 ERA) wild pitch, and the four-run margin was restored, at 7-3.
But the Tribe was not yet done.
That made it five of the Indians’ eight runs scoring with two outs, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is producing in the clutch.
Jimenez showed his mettle in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera and then retired the next three battlers on a grounder (moving Cabrera to third), a pop out and a strikeout to keep the Indians safely ahead.
Good, good job.
Kipnis led off the Indians’ sixth with the Tribe’s seventh double of the evening, and Kipnis’s fourth hit, leaving him a triple shy of The Cycle. But Cabrera flied out before Hafner came through with a single to center, scoring Kipnis and making it 9-3 Good Guys. After a force-out, Fukudome singled, putting runners at the corners, and Shelley Duncan delivered Cleveland’s 17th hit and 10th run with an RBI single, scoring Santana.
At this point, every Tribe starter had collected at least one hit.
Chisenhall fanned to end the inning, stranding a pair, but with a 10-3 lead, that seemed like a moot point at this stage of the game.
Kipnis missed his chance for The Cycle in the bottom of the seventh, but he did collect his fifth hit of the game with a single off of Daniel Schlereth. The hit barrage for the rookie raised his average to .295.
Jimenez kept cruising right along in the eighth, fanning two to reach six K’s for the night on 117 pitches.
(It was about this time that your writer thought "Oh please, Manny Acta, let someone get an inning of work in the ninth. Let’s not press our luck trying to get Ubaldo a complete game in his home debut.")
Having obviously read my mind, Acta brought in last night’s winning pitcher, Frank Herrmann, to wrap things up. Herrmann worked a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Tribe was within two games of the Tigers.
Oh how sweet it would be to win their 14th in a row at Progressive Field over the Tigers and to get to within a game of first.
Ubaldo Jimenez will make his first home appearance for the Indians in tonight’s middle-game of Cleveland’s three-game series with the Detroit Tigers, with a chance to pull the Tribe to within two games of first place in the American League Central.
Jimenez, it will be remembered, was in line to get a victory in his first outing for the Indians, last Friday in Texas, but ended up with a no-decision when Chris Perez let a two-run lead slip away in the ninth inning of a game the Tribe ended up dropping in 11 frames, 8-7.
In that one, Jimenez gave up seven hits and five runs in five innings, but (seeing the glass as half-full), there was of course the nervous factor of making his first start for his new club. And let’s be frank here, facing the Rangers in their hitter-friendly park is a chore no matter who the starter is.
This will not be Jimenez’s first appearance against the Tigers this year. He beat Detroit 5-4 in an interleague game on June 18, giving up three runs in five innings in Colorado. For his career, Ubaldo has faced the Tigers three times, with an overall mark of 1-2 in 16 innings and with a 5.63 ERA. Jimenez has not helped his cause vs. Detroit by giving up 29 baserunners in those 16 innings.
The Tigers will send Rick Porcello (11-6, 4.49 ERA) tonight. Porcello will be making his second appearance vs. The Good Guys in 2011. On April 30 Porcello got a no-decision in a 3-2 Cleveland win at Progressive Field, giving up only two runs on seven hits in seven innings, and fanning seven.
Worth noting is that Porcello has never lost to the Tribe. In eight starts, he is 4-0 vs. the Indians, with an ERA of 2.32 in 50.1 innings.
In other words, it won’t be easy tonight, and if form holds true for Porcello against Cleveland, Jimenez will have to bring a better effort than he put forth in Arlington to keep the Indians in the game.
But first things first. Let’s get this one tonight and clinch a series win over the Tigers.
What can you say about a game that had a two-hour rain delay and then went 14 innings and ended on a hit-batter except for “wow”?
Kosuke Fukudome was plunked by Detroit’s David Pauley with one out and the bases loaded in the 14th after a game that lasted 6 hours and 46 minutes counting the delay to give the Tribe a huge 3-2 win that allowed them to climb to within three games of the Tigers with two games remaining in this series.
The winner was Frank Herrmann, who improved to 3-0 with two scoreless innings, but consider this: combined, the bullpens (which were both forced into the game in the third inning after the starters sat too long to risk bringing back) combined for 23.1 shutout frames. 14 separate pitchers came out of the pen, seven for each side.
And there was terrific defense from both sides, including two diving catches at second from Jason Kipnis for Cleveland, one of which came in the first inning and prevented a run from scoring.
Oh, and of the five runs that scored in the game, only one came as the result of a hit.
In the Indians’ first, Asdrubal Cabrera drove in Kipnis with a single and later scored on a Carlos Santana sac fly. In the Detroit second, the Tigers knotted it at 2-2 on two RBI groundouts, and of course, there was the HBP at almost 2 in the morning.
Quite a night.
Look for a preview of that game this afternoon.
Justin Masterson has been the Cleveland Indians best pitcher all season. If the Indians are going to close the gap between themselves and the Detroit Tigers this week he'll need to continue his recent stretch of dominant baseball tonight against the Tigers are Progressive Field.
"Right now, our main guy has been Justin Masterson," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's a guy who from now on, and for awhile now, we have tried to keep him on the five days routine because he's the guy that we want to see out there every five days."
Masterson(9-7, 2.63), won his last start against the Boston Red Sox, pitching six innings, striking out nine.
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Doug Fister(4-12, 3.29 ERA), who was acquired by Detroit from the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline. He gave up three runs over seven innings in a win against the Texas Rangers last Wednesday.
The Tigers lead the Indians by four games heading into the three game series. The two teams will face each other 12 times over their final 50 games leaving the Indians plenty of time to make up ground. They need, however, to beat the Tigers in head-to-head matchups.
"We just need to stay close, within striking distance, and not let this thing get too far out of reach for us," closer Chris Perez told the team's website. "It's going to be fun. This is why we play. Every game is important, but those head-to-head matchups are even more important just because you control it yourself."
Cleveland has won 11-straight home games against the Tigers, though the team is 10-20 in their last 30 games at Progressive Field.
(Sports Network) – If the Detroit Tigers are going to hold off the Cleveland Indians, among others, to win the American League Central, they are going to have to find a way to win at Progressive Field.
The Tigers turn to recent acquisition Doug Fister this evening in the hopes of snapping an 11-game slide in Cleveland as the two rivals open a key three-game series.
Detroit comes into this set with a four-game lead over second-place Cleveland and is five ahead of Chicago, but it could see that advantage shrink in a hurry if recent problems in Ohio continue. The Tigers haven’t won at Progressive Field since May 8 of last year and were swept in their first trip there this season back on April 29-May 1.
They did manage to take two of three at home over the Indians in mid-June and the clubs will still meet nine more times after this set. That includes a season-ending three-game battle in Detroit and though there is still plenty of games left, the Tigers would still love to leave Cleveland having extended their advantage atop the division.
“I don’t think it’s that early,” Detroit’s Alex Avila told his team’s website. “There’s two months left. You just want to take advantage and win every game you can.”
While the Indians made a big splash before the trade deadline in dealing for Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez, who lost his Cleveland debut on Friday and is slated to start tomorrow’s game, the Tigers also added to their rotation in the form of former Mariner Doug Fister.
The move has already turned into one victory as the right-hander defeated the Rangers in his first outing with the Tigers on Wednesday. Fister allowed three runs — two earned — on eight hits without a walk over seven innings. He won for the first time since May 30 after dropping his final seven decisions with Seattle.
“I really liked his presence on the mound, his demeanor. He did a real fine job for us tonight. I’m really happy for him,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who along with general manager Dave Dombrowski had his contract extended during Monday’s off day.
Leyland agreed to a deal through the 2012 season, while Dombrowski worked out a four-year extension through the 2015 campaign.
Fister, who went 3-12 with a 3.33 earned run average in 21 games with the Mariners, will try to help Leyland celebrate tonight by earning his first ever win over the Indians. The 27-year-old is 0-2 with a 3.16 ERA in four career games against them, but does have a 1.93 ERA over two meetings this season.
Detroit failed to sweep a three-game set with the Royals on Sunday, losing a rain-impacted finale by a 4-3 margin. Miguel Cabrera doubled home a run following a 46-minute rain delay in the sixth inning to pull the Tigers within a run, but they failed to plate the equalizer and lost for only the second time in seven games.
Max Scherzer came out after the delay and took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in five innings.
“It was just one of those outings that kind of got away from me,” Scherzer said. “I fell behind on a few counts where I made a mistake and they made me pay for it. There were other times where I located the ball and they were able hit the balls.”
Detroit was without Victor Martinez due to a sprained left knee suffered on Saturday, but he could return to action tonight against his former club. Martinez spent his first seven-plus seasons as Cleveland’s catcher before getting dealt to Boston during the 2009 season.
One of the players the Indians received in that deal goes tonight as Justin Masterson eyes a second straight victory. The righty won for the first time in four starts on Thursday by beating his old team in Boston.
Masterson allowed three runs on five hits over six innings, striking out nine to improve to 9-7 with a 2.63 ERA in 24 games.
“It was a random mix of everything,” Masterson said of his pitch selection. “There’s nothing overly consistent about anything.”
The 26-year-old moves up a day to pitch this game due to a six-game suspension and subsequent injury to Carlos Carrasco. He is 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in eight career meetings with the Tigers, including five starts.
The Indians failed to pick up ground on the Tigers Sunday, losing a 5-3 contest to the Rangers to wrap a seven-game road trip 3-4. Michael Brantley tripled in a run and also homered for Cleveland, but Joe Smith (2-3) couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead in the eighth after taking over for Josh Tomlin.
“This three-game series was back-and-forth,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “The whole road trip was like that for us.”
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