Verlander’s struggles in Cleveland continue; Tigers fall 7-3
CLEVELAND (AP) — Progressive Field continues to be the baseball equivalent of a haunted house for Justin Verlander.
The right-hander surrendered a season-high tying seven runs in five innings Tuesday night, allowing the Cleveland Indians to beat the Tigers 7-3.
Detroit had its five-game winning streak snapped, while Verlander (2-3) dropped his fourth straight decision against the Indians and took his 100th career loss.
The former American League MVP is 9-14 with a 5.61 ERA in 25 starts in Cleveland, but is 68-41 in his career in all other road ballparks.
"You’re always going to have some parks where you just don’t pitch well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "But I don’t know if there is anything to that in this case because their roster has turned over since Justin has been pitching. Obviously, he and I did want a better start tonight."
Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer and Miguel Cabrera delivered two singles for Detroit. Justin Upton and Nick Castellanos also had two hits on a night when Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin (4-0) went six effective innings for the win.
Cleveland scored three runs in the first, one in the third, and three more in the fifth on a three-run home run by Francisco Lindor.
Verlander was most upset about the latter frame, which saw the Tigers pull within 4-2 in the top half on Kinsler’s blast. He changed out of his short-sleeve undershirt while Detroit was batting, then felt uncomfortable on the mound.
"I’ll never change into long sleeves ever again during a game," said Verlander, who struck out two to tie Livan Hernandez for 81st place on the all-time list with 1,976. "Obviously, that was a huge turning point after Ian’s homer.
"It’s easy to kick yourself in the butt after the fact. I felt good physically out there, I just did a bad job of pitching."
Tigers catcher James McCann went 0 for 3 after being activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. He had been sidelined since April 12 with a sprained right ankle.
To make room for him on the active roster, Detroit traded catcher Bobby Wilson to Texas for minor league pitcher Chad Bell.
"There is an adjustment process coming back, but I felt pretty comfortable behind the plate," McCann said.
Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer, who won his major league debut April 29 at Minnesota, will make his second start Thursday at Cleveland. The highly regarded prospect went five innings against the Twins, allowing two runs. "I felt like he earned another chance," Ausmus said. "The most important thing is experience at the major league level, so every start is big."
The entertainment world was abuzz Monday with news about Verlander’s engagement to supermodel Kate Upton. The hurler declined to discuss the subject, but Ausmus revealed that he learned of the proposal shortly after it occurred. "I knew about it in spring training, but I didn’t leak it to people," the manager said, smiling. "Your secrets are safe with me."
Tigers: RHP Shane Greene (right middle finger blister) threw before the game, but Ausmus said "it’s too early to tell" if he will be activated off the DL when eligible on May 10.
Indians: C Roberto Perez (right thumb fracture) will be re-evaluated Thursday to determine if he will need surgery. He was injured Saturday in Philadelphia while tagging a runner at the plate.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez walked seven and struck out nine in his last start against Oakland, becoming the first Detroit pitcher to post those numbers since Jack Morris in 1988.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber recorded his only win of the season on April 23 at Comerica Park, allowing one run in eight innings. He is 3-6 with a 4.37 ERA in 14 games against Detroit.