DETROIT (AP) — Before the game Friday, Jim Leyland called Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder the best 3-4 combination in the lineup he’s ever had.
The veteran manager’s timing was perfect.
Cabrera and Fielder each hit a long home run later that night, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 10-4. Fielder’s third-inning solo shot landed near the No. 42 honoring Jackie Robinson on the brick facade beyond the wall in right-center field. Cabrera’s three-run homer the following inning came down below Hank Greenberg’s retired No. 5 in left-center at Comerica Park.
“I just kind of let `em play, stay out of their way. … I think that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Leyland said. “We’re very fortunate, obviously, to have both of them.”
Detroit’s Max Scherzer (5-0) allowed four runs and five hits in eight innings. He struck out seven without a walk.
Corey Kluber (2-2) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Andy Dirks also homered for the Tigers, and Omar Infante had three hits, including two doubles. Jhonny Peralta doubled twice as well.
The Tigers trailed 1-0 before Alex Avila’s two-run double in the second. Torii Hunter drove home Avila with a single to right, although he was tagged out near first base on the throw back to the infield for the last out of the inning — preventing another run from scoring on the play.
Fielder’s homer went an estimated 460 feet — according to a Tigers’ spokesman, who cited ESPN Stats and Info.
“That was unbelievable,” Cabrera said. “Every time he goes to the plate, it’s like we expect he’s going to hit the ball so far, because we know what kind of power he has.”
The Indians answered with a run in the fourth when Nick Swisher tripled and scored on Carlos Santana’s groundout.
Detroit broke the game open in the bottom half. With one out, Infante hit his second double of the game and took third on Austin Jackson’s single. After Hunter struck out, Cabrera hit his seventh homer of the year. The defending Triple Crown Winner has 40 RBIs in 33 games in 2013.
“When you get RBIs, that means people are on base, obviously,” Leyland said. “We’ve done a good job of that for him, and he’s taken advantage of that.”
Avila had three RBIs on Friday — his fifth-inning single scored Peralta to make it 8-2.
“I made too many mistakes with the cutter,” Kluber said. “I left one over the plate to Cabrera, and they got a couple more hits off that exact same pitch.”
Scherzer’s previous start was Detroit’s 17-2 victory over Houston last weekend. He received plenty of support this time, too, and he retired eight in a row after Swisher’s triple.
“That’s one of the best pitchers in the game, and we got four runs off him, so that’s pretty good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He just pounds the strike zone and then he’s got the wipe-out changeup, so you aren’t going to get much off him without scratching and clawing. I wish we had gotten 10 off him, but that’s not too likely.”
Cleveland, which entered the day with a major league-leading 49 homers, didn’t hit any Friday. The Indians did scratch out a couple runs in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Mark Reynolds and a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley.
Dirks hit a solo homer down the line in right in the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-4, and Victor Martinez hit a run-scoring single in the eighth. NOTES: Scherzer threw 103 pitches. He has never thrown a complete game. … The Tigers have won 29 of their last 37 games against Cleveland at Comerica. … Avila was only able to advance from second to third on Infante’s bloop double in the second — second baseman Jason Kipnis almost caught the ball, so Avila had to stay near second. … Detroit ace Justin Verlander (4-2) faces Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2) on Saturday night.