DETROIT -- The Indians stretched their winning streak to eight games, one short of their season high, thanks to some Friday afternoon dramatics. Francisco Lindor's ninth-inning RBI single scored Jay Bruce, whose one-out triple continued Cleveland's magic for a 3-2 win over the Tigers in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Comerica Park.
Hours after the Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Astros and Justin Upton to the Angels, Detroit put up a fight against the American League Central leaders behind five solid innings from Matthew Boyd. Jose Iglesias' fifth-inning RBI double provided all the scoring they could muster in seven innings against Carlos Carrasco, but three eighth-inning hits off Cleveland's bullpen -- including an RBI infield single from Michael Mahtook off closer Cody Allen -- tied the game at 2.
Bruce stepped off the bench against Tigers closer Shane Greene (3-3) and sent a drive off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field. Lindor plated him with a line drive through the middle. Allen (2-6) stayed on for the ninth before loading the bases, but Joe Smith earned his first save by retiring Jose Cabrera.
"Really, Miggy hit the ball on the screws to end the game," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He hit the ball on the screws three times [during the game] and didn't get anything to show for it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Encarnacion erupts: The Tigers' momentum of Iglesias' game-tying double lasted just two pitches into the sixth inning thanks to Edwin Encarnacion, who denied reliever Drew VerHagen any chance of a shutdown inning by jumping a hanging slider on a 1-0 pitch. The resulting drive left Encarnacion's bat at 110.1 mph, according to Statcast™, traveling 397 feet to left. Encarnacion's 32nd home run of the year was his first off Tigers pitching since he signed with Cleveland last winter and became a division rival.
Extra bases matter: Bruce's first triple since 2016 was partly a credit to hustle after his drive to right-center bounced off the out-of-town scoreboard. While center fielder JaCoby Jones and right fielder Alex Presley waited for each other to field it, Bruce kept going, ending up on third. The extra base forced the Tigers to play the infield in against Lindor, who lined his go-ahead single through it.
"When I saw that they didn't pick the ball up very quickly as I was getting to second base, I felt like it was time to give it a chance," Bruce said. "There was one out there. They had to make a perfect throw. I had plenty of time, I felt like." More >
"[Allen] was at 30 [pitches]. That's a bunch. That's a lot to ask. I looked at Miggy, and I'm like, 'This is the last guy you want hitting,' and there is no good matchup against Miggy. The one thing with [Smith] is you know he's not going to walk anybody." -- Indians manager Terry Francona, on turning to Smith for the final out
"He's got mixed emotions. He grew up a Detroit Tiger, and from what he told me, I think it was an excruciatingly difficult decision, one that I think even now is very hard to swallow because he's never worn another uniform. But I think he'll be fine." -- Ausmus, on Verlander, who visited the Tigers' clubhouse before the game before packing up his locker
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The Indians gained a one-out baserunner in the fifth inning by challenging first-base umpire Nick Mahrley's call that Ian Kinsler had thrown out Brandon Guyer at first base. After a 51-second review, the call was overturned, putting Guyer on first with a single. He scored Cleveland's first run two batters later.
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