CLEVELAND -- There wasn't much Matthew Boyd could do wrong on Friday night, and his outing helped the Tigers accomplish something they had yet to do under first-year manager Ron Gardenhire.The feat? Beating the Indians at Progressive Field.Detroit was able to play spoiler with a 5-4 win to make the
CLEVELAND -- There wasn't much Matthew Boyd could do wrong on Friday night, and his outing helped the Tigers accomplish something they had yet to do under first-year manager Ron Gardenhire.
The feat? Beating the Indians at Progressive Field.
Detroit was able to play spoiler with a 5-4 win to make the American League Central-leading Tribe wait at least one more day to clinch a third straight division title, while also ending a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland dating to Sept. 11, 2017.
"We played a good ballgame against a really, really good team," Gardenhire said. "But a good win for us swinging the bats and doing some nice things, got a lead and hung on like you have to [in order] to win at this ballpark."
Even with the loss, the Indians' magic number dipped to one with the Twins' 8-4 walk-off loss to the Royals. But the Tigers aren't going down without a fight.
"They can do their thing, but we'd like to hold up our end and win a series tomorrow," Boyd said, smirking.
Boyd took a no-decision, but he held the Indians to three hits across 5 1/3 innings, allowing both runs while walking two and striking out seven. The left-hander surrendered a leadoff single to switch-hitter Francisco Lindor in the first inning, but he didn't allow another hit until a tumultuous sixth.
"He has good stuff," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's got plenty of fastball and he's got a nice little breaking ball, a changeup to go with it. I thought he pitched really well."
Boyd started the sixth inning with 88 pitches, but he was tagged for back-to-back home runs to even the game at 2 and force Gardenhire to call in relief. Edwin Encarnacion hit the first home run, on a first-pitch fastball left down the middle of the plate, followed by Josh Donaldson's first homer since joining the Tribe on Aug. 31 -- a 3-0 fastball slammed to the grandstand in left field.
"It's not dispiriting when we win," Boyd said of the homers. "It's fine, you can live with it. I just fell behind and kicked myself there a little bit."
Drew VerHagen (3-2) came on and retired the next two batters to halt the threat. From there the offense pushed across two more runs and reclaim the lead in the seventh. Submarine right-hander Adam Cimber started the inning with a leadoff double to Dawel Lugo. Jeimer Candelario, who opened the game with a leadoff homer, scored Lugo with the go-ahead run on a double and Victor Martinez doubled home Christin Stewart for a 4-2 lead.
"The boys fought right back after that and it speaks to who we are as a squad," Boyd said. "We fought back, got the lead right back, and we held it down from there."
Cimber took the loss, despite facing only two batters. Andrew Miller entered with one out, allowing the double to Candelario, a fielder's choice, a walk, and the double to Martinez before escaping the inning.
Gardenhire said Boyd took another step in the right direction with another positive outing. Since the All-Star break, Boyd has a 3.09 ERA with 68 strikeouts spanning 67 innings over his last 11 starts. He entered Friday ranked second in the AL with a 0.92 WHIP since the break.
"He never wants to come out," Gardenhire said. "I had to find the ball this time."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Turnbull's debut: In his Major League debut, Spencer Turnbull pitched a perfect seventh inning, while collecting his first career strikeout. Turnbull, the Tigers' second-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, struck out Yan Gomes on a 96-mph fastball -- his fastest pitch of the night. Culminated with the attendance of parents, fiance and friends, Turnbull said it was the most nervous he's ever felt.
"It's one of those things that you're here and you try as much as you can to believe it," he said. "But until you do it, you can't really. Maybe some people could, but there are those small doubts. You try not to listen to any of those voices, if you hear a doubt in your head, you just try and push it away."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
JaCoby Jones scored the Tigers' final run in the eighth, and he did it almost single-handedly. The center fielder reached on an infield single with one out and stole second, which was reviewed and ruled to stand. Lugo swung and missed on a two-strike wild pitch. Gomes threw to first to complete the strikeout of Lugo, but the relay from first baseman Yandy Diaz wasn't in time to get Jones, who scored from second.
"I felt like it was a big momentum, big energy swing," Jones said. "That's what I try to do, try to make stuff happen. It worked out for us. Got a run out of it and we got a W. I just do whatever I can to help the team win."
That's the type of aggression on the bases Gardenhire likes to see.
"You have to have courage to do things, you also have to have speed and good instincts," Gardenhire said. "That was aggressive, but it was a [heck] of a play. It pumped everybody up in the dugout. "
HE SAID IT
"I know we were thinking about letting him go back out for another inning. But we set it up for one inning, that's exactly what we wanted. We got him off the field and he was bubbling pretty good over there, sweating a lot. But man did the ball come out of his hands. But it's fun. As we know, this guy has some of the best stuff in this organization. So it'll be fun. Five days from now he's going to start, then we'll go from there." -- Gardenhire, on Turnbull's debut
Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer (3-11, 4.56 ERA) will take the mound at 3:10 p.m. ET on Saturday for the middle game of this series. Fulmer took a loss his last time out, allowing five runs (three earned) and five hits in 6 1/3 innings on Sunday. The Indians will counter with righty Mike Clevinger (11-8, 3.16 ERA).
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.