CLEVELAND -- Jordan Zimmermann walked away on his own power after taking a line drive off his right jaw, and ended up with a bruise instead of a break. That, first and foremost, was the good news out of the Tigers' clubhouse after Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Indians.Aside from
CLEVELAND -- Jordan Zimmermann walked away on his own power after taking a line drive off his right jaw, and ended up with a bruise instead of a break. That, first and foremost, was the good news out of the Tigers' clubhouse after Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Indians.
Aside from a near-cycle for Leonys Martin, there wasn't much else. He had Detroit's only three hits off Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, who tossed a complete-game win over the Tigers for the second time in three years.
Even Martin wasn't that thrilled about it.
"This was a good game today for me," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's [about] the Detroit Tigers. It's not only myself."
It's actually the second game in four days Martin has accounted for the entire Tigers hit total. He had both Tigers hits and the lone run in Sunday's 1-0 win over the White Sox in frigid Chicago, one of several low-scoring duels Detroit has had already this season. Wednesday, for various reasons, wasn't one of them.
The Tigers knew they were in a battle against Carrasco. Once a Jason Kipnis liner knocked Zimmermann out of action two batters into the game, Detroit realized simply getting through nine innings would be a challenge.
Starter-turned-long-reliever Daniel Norris kept the club in a scoreless duel for a while, allowing a walk and a bunt single his first trip through Cleveland's batting order. Once the lineup turned over, six singles in an eight-batter stretch chased Norris in a four-run rally.
Carrasco took it from there.
"We know we need to fight every at-bat, every pitch, because this guy is so good," said Jose Cabrera, whose 0-for-4 night -- capped by a highlight play deep in the hole by shortstop Francisco Lindor -- left him at 1-for-12 through three games of this four-game series. "This guy can go 3-0 with you and throw you three perfect pitches. You have to go out there and try to make this guy work, but they know what they're doing. They attack you.
"Every time I face this guy, the approach is different. It's not the same pitch. It's not the same location. He always makes adjustments. That's why he's so good."
Not only have the Indians won their last 10 meetings with the Tigers, they've given up just eight earned runs in that streak. A large part of that has involved containing Cabrera, 4-for-43 in his last 12 games against Cleveland. A line-drive single Tuesday is his only ball to escape the infield this series as Carrasco, Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin have executed their plan.
"The last three games, I've tried to pull the ball a lot. I've tried to feel more like swinging aggressive," Cabrera said. "But that hasn't worked because I've hit a lot of ground balls in this series. Tomorrow I'll try to make the adjustment, let the ball go deep and try to drive the ball. The last 8 to 10 at-bats, I've hit a ground ball."
Martin believes they'll get through it.
"We're going to be fine," he said. "We're facing pretty good pitchers. We're going to be OK."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cookie Monster: While Carrasco held eight of the nine batters in Detroit's lineup hitless, he had no answer for Martin, who fell a triple shy of the cycle. That included a tape-measure solo homer to right field off a Carrasco slider. Statcast™ estimated the sixth-inning drive at 421 feet.
"He's a tough pitcher, man," Martin said. "He attacks the strike zone. He's the type of guy you have to be aggressive [with] and swing at strikes. He threw everything for a strike. He's always trying to get on top of the count."
Four score: Throughout the Tribe's recent offensive drought, the team has preached aggressiveness on the basepaths to help manufacture runs. In the fourth, following their consecutive singles, Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley successfully pulled off a double steal. That helped set the stage for Alonso's two-run single to right, igniting the Indians' four-run outburst.
"His ball was moving. We had one guy swing and it hit him in the leg."
-- manager Ron Gardenhire on Carrasco, who got a swing-and-miss from Jose Iglesias on a pitch that hit him on his right thigh
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Half of the Indians' 36 runs this season have come off left-handed pitching, including four Wednesday night against Norris.
Michael Fulmer, owner of 13 innings of one-run ball through two starts so far this season, takes the ball for Thursday's series finale opposite Cleveland's Trevor Bauer in a matchup of emerging young starters. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. ET.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.