The Detroit Tigers took care of their business again last night, disposing of the Indians 9-6 in a game that was more competitive than Monday’s game but had the same result, as a loss is a loss is a loss.
Cleveland falls to 80-81 on the season and thus cannot finish above .500. The Tribe can still finish at the break-even point with a win in the season finale on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately for The Good Guys, the Tigers will have much to play for on Wednesday. Detroit trails the Texas Rangers by one game for playoff positioning in the American League, but owns the tiebreaker over the Rangers and would thus find themselves with home field advantage and playing the AL Wild Card if they could catch Texas on Wednesday. Otherwise, Detroit would have to open the playoffs on the road vs. the Yankees.
The Tigers struck early on Tuesday and built a 6-1 lead before the Indians came back and made a game of it. Jeanmar Gomez’s five-game winning streak ended, flying away on the strength of three Detroit homers, two of which came off of Jeanmar.
Wilson Betemit, Delmon Young and Miguel Cabrera all homered for Detroit, while the Indians were kept in the yard by Tigers’ starter Max Scherzer and five relievers. Scherzer took the win to move to 15-9, with Jose Valverde picking up his 48th save in as many chances.
Shelley Duncan got the Tribe on the board in the fourth with a double that scored Jim Thome and cut the Indians’ deficit to 4-1, but Detroit answered with two of their own to lead by five.
In the fifth Cleveland added a run with the benefit of a wild pitch to make it 6-2, but the Tigers once again scored a pair in their half to lead by six and finishing Gomez’s night.
Jason Donald drove in two with a single in the sixth, making it 8-4, but the Tribe left the bases loaded when Kosuke Fukudome struck out against reliever Dan Schlereth, and Cabrera’s homer off of Chad Durbin in the home half restored the Detroit lead to five.
Thome’s double and Lonnie Chisenhall’s single cut it to 9-6 with one out in the seventh, but the Indians stranded two when reliever Ryan Perry induced a pair of ground outs, and the Tribe managed only one more baserunner the rest of the evening.
So the season will end on Wednesday night with the Tribe perhaps needing a win to fend off the White Sox and to claim undisputed second place in the AL Central. Chicago finishes their season with an afternoon game at home against the Blue Jays, so the Indians should know their status by the time their own game starts.
Not that there will be a lot of scoreboard watching going on on the Cleveland side of the diamond. Now, on the Detroit side…