Smyly helps Tigers top Indians 5-1, avoiding sweep
JUL 20, 2014 4:12p ET
DETROIT -- When Drew Smyly is on, even the Cleveland Indians can't beat him.
The Indians (50-48) came into Sunday's game looking for their first-ever four-game sweep of the Tigers (54-41) in Detroit.
But Smyly wasn't having any of that and held the Indians down in a 5-1 victory, moving the Tigers back to a 5 1/2-game lead in the Central.
For most of the game, Smyly wasn't even interested in letting the Indians get a hit.
Although he had walked a couple of batters, Smyly did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning.
Then Indians catcher Yan Gomes hit a double to right-center field.
"The curveball that ruined the no-hitter, I thought that was a pretty solid pitch but you gotta tip your cap on that," Smyly said. "He did what he was supposed to do, drove it to right-center. But I wouldn't take that back."
Smyly, the Tigers' youngest starter at 25, said he was aware that the Indians didn't have any hits to that point.
"If any pitcher says they don't notice, they're lying," Smyly said. "You think about it. I noticed it after two innings -- oh, I haven't given up a hit yet. You know the odds are against you. It's unrealistic to think you're going to go out and mow everybody down. Honestly, I feel like it motivates you."
Smyly said this is the furthest in the majors he's taken a no-hit bid. In college, he got much closer.
"I took it to the ninth one time," Smyly said. "Swinging infield single, like a little bunt single. One out in the ninth, that was the closest I've been. Postseason in college. It was like a swinging bunt. He beat it out."
Gomes wasn't satisfied with breaking up Smyly's no-hitter. He hit a two-out home run in the seventh for the Indians' only run of the game.
"The change-up, I knew that one the second it left my hand," Smyly said.
Smyly allowed that one run on four hits while walking two and striking out six in seven innings to improve to 6-8 with a 3.80 ERA.
"He was flippin' that breaking ball over at will and it had a lot of depth to it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And he was changing speeds."
It is the second time that Smyly has allowed one run or less in seven innings. The other time was May 3 at Kansas City.
"Smyly hit that outside corner today on those righties and they couldn't do much with it," Torii Hunter said. "Lefties, he kept that slider or curveball, kept those guys off-balance. When Smyly hits his spots, he's going well, he can be nasty."
Smyly also won his last start before the break in Kansas City. It's the second time in his career he's won back-to-back starts. The first was July 1 and 6, 2012.
"I thought I pitched really good in KC, gave up the home run to (Eric) Hosmer my last batter, but besides that, I thought it was a really good game," Smyly said. "(Sunday) was a great game."
After dropping both games in a doubleheader Saturday and using up the bullpen, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was thrilled with what Smyly delivered.
"Smyly's performance probably stands out, kind of gave us really what we needed," Ausmus said. "We played three games the last two days, going seven innings, held them to one run."
Now that he's ended the Tigers' four-game skid, Smyly hopes to run his personal streak to three straight wins.
"It's huge to come and get the win to end the little streak," Smyly said. "But it's baseball, you're going to go on a lot of hot streaks, you're going to go on some cold streaks. You just kind of try to weather the storm. But it's nice we were able to finish this homestand with a win."