The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 22, 2014

Swept away

Tigers overmatch Indians in finale

CLEVELAND — In sweeping the three-game weekend series at Progressive Field, the Detroit Tigers basically returned the favor from almost exactly a month earlier.

On May 19-21, Cleveland had swept 3 games from Detroit in the same venue. This time, the Tigers reciprocated, finishing it off with a 10-4 pummeling of the Tribe on Sunday afternoon.

Detroit (40-32) won its fourth straight, while the third-place Indians (37-39) slipped to 5 games behind it in the AL Central Division race.

Max Scherzer, the league’s Cy Young Award winner in 2013, pitched 6 effective innings. Meanwhile the Tigers pounded out 7 runs in the fifth inning, with the help of two Cleveland errors.

Scherzer (9-3, 3.71 ERA)  allowed 6 hits and a pair of walks while fanning 8. The only run against the right-hander came on a Michael Brantley double in the fifth inning

“I thought early, (Scherzer) was in a lot of deep counts,” manager Terry Francona said. “But if you’re going to get into those deep counts, you’re going to have to make a pitch. And he always seemed to do that.”

Miguel Cabrera’s home run to right-center on a full count against starter Josh Tomlin (4-5, 4.39) put Detroit on top 1-0 in the first inning.

“I threw him the kitchen sink in that at-bat,” Tomlin said. “The one pitch I didn’t throw was a well-executed cutter down and away. When I did, he deposited in right-center field.

“He’s a good hitter; he hit a good pitch. You’ve got to keep pitching after that.”

Cabrera (3 RBI) singled in the Tigers’ second run in the third.

Then everything caved in for the Tribe in the fifth.

First, Ian Kinsler, who had scored in the third after doubling, lined a hit to left. Kinsler stole second, and Austin Jackson’s line single to right moved him to third.

Cabrera then hit a grounder to the left of second baseman Jason Kipnis, who fielded the ball and threw to Asdrubal Cabrera, trying for the force at second. The throw was in time, but Cabrera dropped the ball for an error, his 14th.

Jackson was originally ruled out, but the call was overturned after Detroit’s challenge.

“The runner (was) coming up on Cabbie, and he (didn’t) look it into his glove,” Francona said.

Victor Martinez followed with a line drive to center. Michael Bourn raced in, and seeing Jackson far off second, intended to catch the ball and turn it into a double play. But the ball glanced off his glove for another error, loading the bases.

“I think he probably looked up, thought he had a chance to maybe double up the runner, and then I think it did sail, and then he kind of fell,” Francona said. “It was a tough one.”

J.D. Martinez then lined one over Bourn’s head for a two-run double. Nick Castellano’s double into the left-field corner brought home 2 more runs and finished Tomlin.

Kyle Crockett got the first out, but Kevin Romine’s bloop hit to right-center provided another run.

Rajai Davis then grounded to Kipnis. Kipnis attempted to tag Romine, who stopped in order to avoid the tag. Kipnis took a swipe at Davis and missed before throwing to first for the out. Santana’s relay to second was too late to get Romine. Kinsler made the Indians pay by grounding his third hit through the left side for a run-scoring single, completing the rally.

“Against that lineup — against any team — if you give them extra opportunities, the first decent chance, you pay for it,” Francona said. “And then you saw what happens when they’re coming through the middle of that lineup and you give them extra chances. They put up a 7-spot that basically took the game out of our hands.”

“I felt pretty good (other than the fifth inning),” Tomlin said. “I didn’t do much to limit the damage in that inning.

“I think it’s tough not making the pitches to limit their damage and getting the big outs. That’s not me. I’ve got to make better pitches in situations, to not give up 7 runs in that inning.”

“I felt the first couple of hitters were real good (for him),” Francona said. “Then it took him a lot of pitches (34) to finish the first inning.

“Again, going through the middle of that order is tough. They made him work every inning, and finally when things broke through, our defense kind of collapsed at the same time.”

Alex Avila doubled in a run off Carlos Carrasco for Detroit’s 10th run in the sixth.

Cleveland picked up three runs in the ninth against Chad Smith, who made his major-league debut. The Tribe struck for 4 hits after two were out, with Asdrubal Cabrera picking up an RBI single and Brantley (3 hits, 3 RBI) adding a two-run double.

Blaine Hardy and Patrick McCoy (major-league debut) also worked for the Tigers.

John Axford, Mark Lowe and Bryan Shaw also pitched for Cleveland.

Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.

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