"They outplayed us today," shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "They played better than us. That's pretty much it. Every other time we played, we played better than them. Today, they played better than us. They hit more than us, they outpitched us, they played defense better than us."
It was not the first double-digit streak that came to an end this season for the Indians, who had a franchise-best 14-game win streak snapped over the weekend. Cleveland's 13-game home win streak also ended with the club's first home loss since May 31.
"I think we've just competed with [the Tigers]," Indians starter Josh Tomlin said. "We went out there and played our style of baseball and took some extra bases when we needed to, pitched well, had timely hitting. I just think we went out there and tried to play loose and play fun. Today, it was unfortunate."
In the beginning, it looked like the Tribe was going to sustain its dominance over the Tigers. Tomlin set down every Detroit batter through the first three frames, while Cleveland jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. The Indians have outscored the Tigers, 29-1, in the first three innings this season.
But Detroit fought back, scoring three runs in the fourth to take just its second lead of the season. An inning later, the floodgates opened with a five-run fifth, ultimately puncturing the Tribe's streak.
"I think they just made a better adjustment than I did," Tomlin said. "They were kind of laying off the borderline pitches, and I left a couple pitches down the middle of the plate that they took advantage of."
When the dust settled, Cleveland stood atop the American League Central with a 6 1/2-game lead. A large reason for the team's first-place cushion is its success against arguably its biggest threat in the division. With the defending champs, Royals, battling injuries, the Tigers have represented Cleveland's most serious foe to this point.
Midway through the season, the Indians have a plus-43 run differential over the Tigers in 12 meetings. Still, with nearly half a season left -- including seven more games against Detroit -- Cleveland players know they still have a long way to go.
"The team has played very consistent," Lindor said. "We were very consistent the whole year. I'm happy for that. We have a long way to go still. We have to continue to pound the strike zone, hit the good pitches, play defense, continue to do the small things. At the end of the year, we'll see how we do."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.