Hale after Indians' tight tilt: 'Turn the page'

August 15th, 2021

DETROIT – The Indians’ comeback went for naught Saturday night against the Tigers, who rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against Bryan Shaw to come out on top, 6-4.

Cleveland erased a three-run deficit, with third baseman José Ramírez, a power source in both the fifth and seventh innings.

Ramírez lined a triple into the gap in right-center to score a run in the fifth, before he scored on a single by Franmil Reyes.

Two innings later, Ramírez drove a double into that same spot to score Bradley Zimmer, who had reached on an infield single.

Ramírez, the No. 3 hitter and club's catalyst, had been 8-for-40 in his last 10 games. However, he also has 17 RBIs in his last 19 games and leads the Tribe on the season with 69 RBIs.

“He produces,” said Cleveland acting manager DeMarlo Hale, “and that’s why he’s in the middle of the order hitting third. Get the man on in front of him and he can do damage. He’s up to [a team-high] 25 homers.

“When you look up, he’s going to have his typical year. But that’s what it’s about -- being productive. And that’s why he’s the player he is.”

Shaw walked Detroit’s No. 3 hitter, Miguel Cabrera, on a full-count pitch to receive a barrage of boos in the eighth. The announced attendance of 32,845 came to Comerica Park hoping to see Cabrera hit homer No. 500.

However, what they jeered perhaps should have been cheered, as it put the go-ahead run on base. Hale was asked about that unusual fan reaction.

“Hey,” he said, “you know what? It’s the situation of the game. We went at Miggy all night. [Blake] Parker hit him [in the fifth], but we’re just trying to pitch to both sides of the plate. We’re not going to change because he’s chasing something. We’re going to play the situation of the game.

“Shaw faced him last night and he was going at him with certain pitches and he missed with them.”

After the walk, Cabrera was replaced by pinch-runner Jacob Robson, who scored ahead of Jeimer Candelario on a bases-loaded single looped into left field by catcher Eric Haase.

Haase, who played for the Tribe in 2018 and 2019, has become one of the top rookies in the American League. He has 19 homers and 49 RBIs.

Cleveland drafted him in the seventh round in 2011, and he opted to sign rather than play at Ohio State. Haase was born in Detroit, raised in suburban Westland and was Mr. Baseball in Michigan 10 years ago at Dearborn Divine Child.

Cleveland, conversely, had its chances early.

However, the Indians went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and didn’t capitalize on an opportunity for a big inning in the third.

Myles Straw led off with a double and advanced to third on Zimmer’s single. Cleveland had its 3-4-5 hitters coming up with the table set.

But then Ramirez and Reyes hit shallow fly balls that didn’t allow even the speedy Straw to tag and score from third. Tigers starter Wily Peralta got catcher Wilson Ramos -- who began the season with Detroit -- to go down swinging, ending that rally.

“Sometimes they don’t come through,” said Hale.

Right-handed reliever Nick Wittgren was a bright spot for Cleveland. He allowed his team to catch up by shutting out the Tigers in the sixth and seventh innings. He struck out three and didn’t walk anybody.

“I think he’s been throwing the ball pretty well,” Hale said of Wittgren. “We’ve kind of asked him the last couple times out to go multiple innings. So he’s shown that he can do that.”

Zimmer also had a productive game with two hits and Hale said Zimmer convinced him to stay in the game after pulling up lame on an infield single in the seventh.

“The little pinch that he feels, it goes away,” said Hale. “So it’s something that he’s been dealing with quite a while, actually. I went out there and he just said, ‘Give me some time.’ It goes away, rather than a throb. So I trust him with his decision.”

Cleveland had the late-inning momentum until Detroit responded in the eighth.

“No doubt,” said Hale, “it is inning by inning and you put the bat on the ball and sometimes good things happen for sure. I don’t think they hit Shaw very hard, but they found some green out there in the outfield.

“So you move on, you turn the page and come back tomorrow and try to win a series.”

Cleveland (56-59) and Detroit (58-61) are in a virtual tie for second place in the AL Central behind the front-running White Sox.