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J-Ram homers as Tribe splits DH with Tigers

MLB.com

DETROIT -- A day before Jose Ramirez finds out whether he's an All-Star for the first time, he was a difference-maker for the Indians once again. His two-run home run provided the knockout hit off Jordan Zimmermann as Cleveland earned a Saturday doubleheader split with a 4-1 win over the Tigers in the nightcap.

The win avenged a 7-4 Tigers victory in the afternoon affair at Comerica Park.

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DETROIT -- A day before Jose Ramirez finds out whether he's an All-Star for the first time, he was a difference-maker for the Indians once again. His two-run home run provided the knockout hit off Jordan Zimmermann as Cleveland earned a Saturday doubleheader split with a 4-1 win over the Tigers in the nightcap.

The win avenged a 7-4 Tigers victory in the afternoon affair at Comerica Park.

View Full Game Coverage

"We played with a lot more energy," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's a long day. We really picked it up. We talk so much about not backing down from a challenge. It's easier to say it than to do it. I was really proud of our guys."

Zimmermann (5-6) held the Tribe scoreless on one hit through five innings, protecting a 1-0 lead, before Cleveland moved ahead in the sixth. Edwin Encarnacion's bloop single over Miguel Cabrera's head behind first base pulled the Indians in front before Ramirez sent Zimmermann's next pitch deep for his 13th home run of the season. Carlos Carrasco (9-3) made the lead stick with seven innings of one-run ball, striking out seven.

Video: CLE@DET: Carrasco strikes out seven in strong outing

Cody Allen worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless eighth inning, and Andrew Miller delivered an eight-pitch ninth, with help from a diving catch by Bradley Zimmer. The Indians' rookie center fielder raced into the gap in left-center and laid out to snag a fly ball from Mikie Mahtook for the second out before Miller fanned Andrew Romine to seal his second save of the year.

"That one was for sure going to be a triple if it gets over his head," Mahtook said. "I didn't think there was any shot he was going to get it. No chance."

Video: CLE@DET: Zimmer lays out to make an insane grab

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Miller saves, Zimmer robs: Hours after Zimmer made a diving catch on Mahtook in Game 1, he topped it with a flying grab in the nightcap to deny what would've been a one-out triple in the ninth.

"That's impressive," Miller said. "Off the bat, I was kind of hoping he'd have a chance to run under it, and then I saw where the ball was going and where he was and kind of chalked it to, 'All right, I need to make a pitch here.' He's an incredible athlete. It's been a lot of fun to watch." More >>

Video: CLE@DET: Miller earns his second save of the season

Bloops and a blast: Though Ramirez's home run was the crushing hit off Zimmermann, the Indians took advantage with three well-placed hits in front of it, none of them with an exit velocity over 86 mph. Roberto Perez's ground ball through the left side led off the attack before Jason Kipnis lined a double to put two runners into scoring position. Encarnacion got enough of a Zimmermann slider to loft it into short right field before Ramirez struck.

Video: CLE@DET: Encarnacion flares an RBI single to right

QUOTABLE
"That's one of the best plays I've seen all year. He got fully extended. He's [6-foot-5]. If he's 6-4, he probably doesn't make it. The athleticism, that was [impressive]. After a long day at the ballpark, that was really fun to watch." --Francona, on Zimmer's catch

"We need to win series. We still have a chance to do that tomorrow." -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, on doubleheader split

Tweet from @tigers: We're proud to recognize former Negro League players as part of tonight���s annual tribute ceremony. pic.twitter.com/fpkoidylvh

BENCHES EMPTY
Hours after James McCann took two pitches off his left arm in the first game, Jose Iglesias was hit in the same area in the fourth inning by a Carrasco fastball, leaving him in pain as he headed to first base. The next half-inning, Zimmermann went inside on Carlos Santana, starting a shouting match as benches began to clear. Plate umpire Tim Timmons waved both sides back and issued warnings.

"A couple of their guys got hit," Francona said. "I just I don't think you ever throw behind somebody. Looking back though, it might have been the best thing that happened to us. It woke us up and our guys really got after it from there."

Video: CLE@DET: Tempers flare in Detroit after errant pitch

WHAT'S NEXT
Indians: Right-hander Mike Clevinger (3-3, 3.56 ERA) is slated to take the mound for a 1:10 p.m. ET clash with the Tigers on Sunday at Comerica Park. Clevinger has gone 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA on the road this season.

Tigers: Justin Verlander (5-4, 4.47), who has faced the Indians more than any other team in his career (50 starts), will start the action Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET to close the series against Cleveland. Verlander is 3-8 against the Tribe since 2014.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Carlos Carrasco, Mikie Mahtook, Andrew Miller, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Bradley Zimmer, Jordan Zimmermann