Tigers 9, Indians 4
Torii Hunter came up one measly single shy of history.
It’s about the only thing the All-Star-studded Detroit Tigers
haven’t accomplished during two days of dominance inside
Hunter drove in three runs and fell a single short of hitting
for the cycle, and Miguel Cabrera cracked a two-run homer as the
Tigers overpowered the Cleveland Indians again, 9-4 on Saturday for
their fifth straight win.
Hunter hit a two-run homer, tripled and doubled as the Tigers
won their seventh consecutive game over the Indians and pushed
their lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games. Needing just a routine
base hit in the eighth inning, Hunter grounded out weakly to
reliever Vinnie Pestano.
”I tried to bloop it, but it just didn’t work out,” said
Hunter, who would have already had his cycle but was robbed by
outfielder Michael Bourn’s diving catch in the third. ”That was my
single. He ruined it for me. I’ll have to talk to him
Detroit improved to 8-2 against Cleveland this season, and the
Tigers have won 11 of the last 14 games in what has been a lopsided
The Indians came into the four-game series hoping to cut into
Detroit’s lead. Instead, the Tigers have opened some distance and
are threatening to widen the gap.
”We’ll show up tomorrow,” Indians manager Terry Francona
promised. ”We certainly need to do better against them. They’re
the team that is directly ahead of us and they’ve kind of had their
way with us, but I don’t think we’ll show up tomorrow and not feel
we’re going to win. But we need to play better.”
The Tigers have outscored the Indians 16-4 in the first two
games of the series and Detroit still has Doug Fister (6-5) and Max
Scherzer (13-0) scheduled to pitch.
Anibal Sanchez (7-5) returned from the disabled list and pitched
five innings for his first win since June 4.
Cabrera and Prince Fielder homered in the third off Carlos
Carrasco (0-4), who was recalled from the minors to face the AL’s
best hitting team.
Nick Swisher and Ryan Raburn went deep for Cleveland, which has
dropped four straight.
In the eighth, the Tigers learned that Cabrera will make his
first start for the AL in the All-Star game and will be joined by
five teammates; Hunter, Fielder, shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Scherzer
and Justin Verlander. Detroit’s Jim Leyland will manage the AL
squad for the July 16 game at Citi Field in New York.
”I’m very happy for all our guys,” Leyland said. ”Everybody
from the Tigers was a players’ choice. The one guy I added was
Justin Verlander and I don’t think that’s really going out on the
limb too damn far.”
Hunter said Cabrera’s first All-Star start was long overdue.
”I couldn’t believe he’d never been a starter,” Hunter said of
Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown last season. ”He’s been the best
hitter on the planet for a long time.”
The Indians will be represented by pitcher Justin Masterson and
second baseman Justin Kipnis, who had his hitting streak stopped at
Leyland picked both Cleveland players, selections that delighted
”I knew all along that the process is what it is and I knew he
would put his heart and soul and brains into it and try to do the
best job that he could,” said Francona, who managed the AL team in
2005 and 2008. ”Sometimes it’s an impossible job, but knowing him
I knew he would do the best he could for every team.”
Hunter’s two-run homer in the sixth put the Tigers ahead 9-1.
With a chance to become the first Tigers player to hit for the
cycle since Carlos Guillen in 2006 – and the first to do it in
Progressive Field history – Hunter tapped out on a slow roller.
Sanchez had been sidelined since June 16 with a strained
shoulder. With the luxury of a large lead, he was able to pitch
relaxed and allowed one run and three hits before Leyland pulled
him after 73 pitches.
Carrasco wasn’t so lucky.
He survived his first trip through Detroit’s vaunted lineup
unscathed, but the right-hander wasn’t so fortunate the second time
around as the Tigers roped two homers, two doubles and a single in
the third off Carrasco, who hasn’t won in the majors since June 29,
2011. He missed all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery.
Cabrera connected for a two-run homer and Fielder followed with
another drive as the Tigers scored four times – all with two
With one out, Austin Jackson doubled before Carrasco retired
Hunter on a hard liner to center. Cabrera fouled off two pitches
before launching his 27th homer into the left-field seats to make
it 2-0, thrilling thousands of orange-and-blue clad Detroit fans
who made the trip from Michigan.
Two pitches later, Fielder hit his 15th homer, a towering blast
into the right-field seats to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the game and
10-0 in the series.
After the game, the Indians held a brief players’ meeting to
address all that has gone wrong in the past two games.
”We’re definitely not intimidated by them,” Kipnis said.
”We’ve just come out flat the last couple days and we’re looking
to change that. The pressures not really on us, it’s got to be on
them and that’s the way we’ve got to approach it.”
NOTES: The Tigers have six All-Stars for the first time since
1985. … Francona is opposed to the league that wins the All-Star
game receiving home-field advantage in the World Series. ”I’m not
sure I have the answer,” said Francona, who managed the AL team in
2005 and 2008. ”But you play all year in our sport, I think that
should mean something.” … Leyland isn’t sure when 2B Omar
Infante (bruised left shin) will return. He hasn’t played since
being taken out on a slide by Toronto’s Colby Rasmus on