Indians unable to shut down middle of Tigers’ lineup
Detroit Tigers' Victor Martinez watches an RBI single off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 21, 2014, in Cleveland. Miguel Cabrera scored on the play. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
CLEVELAND — If the Indians have learned anything over the years it is that you can’t expect to make mistakes against the Tigers and not get away with them. So far in this weekend’s series they have made plenty, especially when facing the middle of the lineup.
For the second straight night, the Tribe was unable to overcome the damage that Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez brought. Both had two hits as the Tigers held on for a 5-4 win in 10 innings before a sellout crowd of 40,712 at Progressive Field.
Martinez homered for the second straight game while Cabrera’s one-out double in the 10th scored Ian Kinsler with the go-ahead run.
"It seems like every time we came through there we got nicked up," Terry Francona said.
With one out in the 10th, Francona decided to let Cody Allen have a go at Cabrera instead of pitching around him. As Francona said "sometimes you have to get them out" instead of walking them.
On a 1-0 pitch to Cabrera, Allen was trying to go up and in on a fastball but instead hung it down the middle. Cabrera hammered it to center for a double that scored Ian Kinsler.
Martinez put Detroit on the board in the second inning with a solo shot to right off Trevor Bauer for his fourth home run this season against Cleveland. Cabrera is 3 for 9 in the series and Martinez is 3 for 7.
"When you have an open base choose who you want rather not face both of them. If you walk both early there is a chance that they are going to score," Francona said.
Making matters worse is that Bauer also gave up homers to Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler in the sixth inning as the Tigers took a 4-1 lead. Detroit has five homers in the series while the Indians have allowed a Major League-high 48 homers in the past 35 games.
When the Indians swept Detroit here last month, they were able to jump on their starters early. That hasn’t been the case so far. After Rick Porcello pitched seven shutout innings on Friday, Justin Verlander followed that up by allowing only two runs (one earned) and four hits in seven innings.
The Indians have not led at any point in the two games and six of their eight runs have come off the Tigers’ bullpen. The Tribe sent it into extra innings on a two-out single by Michael Bourn in the ninth to score David Murphy.
With the loss, the Indians are four games behind Detroit in the division going into the final game of the series.