Tigers ride homers to first win of '16 over Tribe

July 6th, 2016

CLEVELAND -- While the tables have tilted in the Indians' favor in the American League Central this year, the Tigers were not about to get shut out in their season series with the Tribe. On Wednesday, Detroit finally took it to Cleveland in a 12-2 romp at Progressive Field.
The win was the first in 12 games this season against the first-place Indians, whose 11-game streak against Detroit was their longest in-season run against one team since going 12-0 against the Tigers in 1996. The loss for Cleveland also ended a 13-game winning streak at home.
"It makes for a happy flight," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It was a good game for us. Guys bounced back after last night's drubbing. … There's definitely a little bit of weight off the shoulders, just to beat the Indians after 11 straight losses. And now I think we can move on from that."
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Nick Castellanos (3-for-5 with five RBIs) and Cameron Maybin each launched a home run, Miguel Cabrera delivered a key hit and Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin was charged with eight runs (five earned) in an uncharacteristically short outing. The starter lasted only 4 2/3 innings, in which he scattered seven hits, including the pair of homers.
"We've just competed with them," Tomlin said of the Tribe's 11-1 record against the Tigers. "We went out there and played our style of baseball. … Today, it was unfortunate. I put us in a hole early, so it was a tough day to come back."
For the Tigers, right-hander Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.11 ERA) found the win column for the eighth time in his past nine decisions. Cleveland scored two runs (one earned) off Fulmer, who allowed a sacrifice fly each to Lonnie Chisenhall (second inning) and Francisco Lindor (third). With his six-inning effort, Fulmer now has a 0.78 ERA in his past nine turns for the Tigers, all of them with one earned run or fewer allowed, the longest such streak in franchise history.
"I don't think I had my best fastball, especially command-wise," Fulmer said. "So I had a few stressful innings early in the game. But I think the way our offense exploded kind of got me motivated. I wanted to make sure I attacked the strike zone and try to get quick outs, see if I can get deep into the game and give our bullpen some rest."
Cabrera capitalizes: The last time Cabrera fouled a ball off his leg, he ended up being called for a groundout Tuesday night and ejected in the ensuing argument. On Wednesday, he fouled a ball off his foot in the fifth and had to walk it off before getting his revenge on Tomlin's 3-2 pitch. Cabrera's line-drive single off the right-field wall scored not only AL Final Vote candidate Ian Kinsler from second base, but Maybin from first, stretching Detroit's lead to 5-2.

Rare error: The typically sure-handed Lindor -- named to his first All-Star Game on Tuesday -- misplayed a short-hopper off the bat of Victor Martinez in Detroit's five-run fifth. The Tigers quickly capitalized on Lindor's fifth error of the season. The next batter, Castellanos, drilled the first pitch from Tomlin over the wall in center for a three-run home run.
"I thought it was going to be closer to me and started moving forward," Lindor said. "I made it a little tougher on me. That ball should be caught every time. I messed up. They scored three more runs after that. It's not the first time I messed up, it's not going to be the last time I messed up. I definitely don't want to do that."

Slow-mo shot: With no outs and a runner on first in the fourth, Tomlin fired a 2-2 curveball in and off the plate to Maybin. The Detroit outfielder was able to keep his hands in enough to pull the pitch high down the left-field line for a game-tying two-run home run. The blast came with an exit velocity of 87.3 mph, which is the second-slowest homer tracked by Statcast™ this year.
"It was a bad pitch, for one," Tomlin said. "So I wasn't surprised he got to it. But I thought maybe his barrel kind of got around it a little bit too much, to where it might've hooked foul. Obviously, he kind of stayed inside of it pretty well, and it hit the foul pole."

Fulmer provides shutdown inning: Maybin's homer gave the Tigers just their second lead against the Indians all season. The last one, a week and a half ago in Detroit, lasted just three batters. Cleveland nearly erased this one, too, getting a leadoff walk in the fourth and putting runners at the corners with two outs, but Fulmer retired Chris Gimenez on a comebacker to end the threat and give the Tigers a chance to pull away an inning later.
"Mike did an unbelievable job keeping them at bay, putting a zero on the board and allowing us to come back and score some more runs," Kinsler said.

"With Cleveland, there's been no dagger. The dagger was on that ninth-inning double play. That was the dagger, to end the game. How many games did they beat us in a row? Eleven. So the dagger was when we won."
-- Castellanos, asked whether his home run was the dagger in the win
"The way we've been looking at it, if you look at our record, this is the only team that's given us problems. Cut those losses in half and we're right there. This is a big one today." -- Maybin
Castellanos improved to 15-for-39 with three home runs and 13 RBIs against the Indians this season. The only other player with more than six RBIs off Tribe pitching this year is Boston's Mookie Betts (eight).
Cleveland's 13-game winning streak at home was the longest in the AL since 2011, when the Indians also had a 14-game run at Progressive Field.
In the third inning, Jason Kipnis pulled a 2-2 pitch from Fulmer high and deep over the right-field line, where it sailed into the seats. An umpires' review was initiated to determine whether the shot -- initially ruled a foul ball -- was a home run or not. After a swift 55-second replay review, the foul call was confirmed. Kipnis then struck out with runners on the corners.

One batter later, Lindor lofted a pitch to left field, where Justin Upton made the catch for the out. Gimenez tagged and scored on the sacrifice fly, but the Tigers appealed and Cleveland's backup catcher was called out for leaving third early. The Indians challenged the call and, following a review of one minute and 59 seconds, the out call was overturned, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead at the time.

The Indians also challenged an out call at first base in the fifth inning. Kipnis grounded into a 3-6-1 double play, but appeared to reach first before the relay throw. The replay showed that Kipnis stepped on Fulmer's foot without touching the base. The ruling on the field stood as called after a review lasting three minutes and seven seconds.

Tigers: The Tigers will happily bid farewell to Cleveland and head north to Toronto to begin a four-game series against the Blue Jays to close out the first half. Justin Verlander (8-6, 4.11 ERA) will start Thursday's series opener at 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre.
Indians: The first-place Tribe is set to host the Yankees in a four-game series, beginning with a 7:10 p.m. ET clash on Thursday at Progressive Field. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (7-2, 3.02 ERA) is slated to take the ball for Cleveland. Bauer has a 1.81 ERA in his past seven outings, including five shutout innings of relief to close out the Indians' 19-inning win over the Blue Jays on Friday.
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