DETROIT -- The baseball left Yonder Alonso's fingertips and floated beyond the reach of Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, bouncing away into foul territory. For a few innings on Friday night, it felt like the first baseman may have thrown the game away along with it.Nine innings offer ample opportunity for
DETROIT -- The baseball left Yonder Alonso's fingertips and floated beyond the reach of Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, bouncing away into foul territory. For a few innings on Friday night, it felt like the first baseman may have thrown the game away along with it.
Nine innings offer ample opportunity for redemption and Alonso made the most of his second chances in an 8-3 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park. In the wake of a costly fielding blunder in the third, Alonso belted a go-ahead homer in the sixth and delivered a go-ahead single in the eighth.
"It's a tough game, man," Alonso said. "But, this game will always give you a second chance. That's what I was hoping for."
Between Alonso's showing and a two-homer night for Francisco Lindor, the first baseman's misstep was rendered moot for the American League Central-leading Indians (56-46).
The play in question occurred when Victor Reyes chopped a pitch from Carrasco to Alonso to open the third inning. The first baseman gloved the grounder, but fired it beyond the reach of Carrasco as the pitcher hustled to cover the bag. Later in the inning, Nicholas Castellanos and Niko Goodrum capitalized with consecutive run-scoring doubles with two outs.
"I just didn't take my time," Alonso said. "I rushed it. That's all it was. That's really all it was. I learned from it. Hopefully tomorrow there's the exact same play."
Both runs were unearned for Carrasco, who was charged with three runs overall in his 6 1/3 innings. The other setback for the right-hander in his no-decision came courtesy of Victor Martinez, who homered on an 0-2 offering in the sixth to knot the score, 3-3, at the time.
In the top of the sixth, Alonso staked the Tribe to a 3-2 lead with a one-out solo shot off Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers, who also surrendered a two-run blast to Lindor in the fifth. Martinez's homer diminished the impact of Alonso's 17th round-tripper of the season but the Indians' first baseman got another opportunity in the eighth.
All-Star Joe Jimenez took over for Detroit and promptly allowed a leadoff single to Michael Brantley before issuing a walk to Jose Ramirez. After the right-hander struck out Edwin Encarnacion, Alonso again came through, shooting a pitch into left for an RBI single that pushed the Indians ahead, 4-3.
"Jimenez's first two pitches, he threw it right by him," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And then [Alonso] shortened up a little bit and he fouled a couple. And then he got one he could hit and handle, hit that ball to left field for a nice hit. That was a good at-bat."
Subsequent home runs by Brandon Guyer (three-run shot in the eighth) and Lindor (solo blast in the ninth) put the game out of reach for the Tribe.
Alonso's error felt like a distant memory by that point.
"I forgot all about it," Lindor said. "We're going to make errors. We're going to make mistakes. We come back and find a way to help the team win. That's what he did."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In a pinch: After Alonso's go-ahead single in the eighth inning, the Tigers turned to lefty Daniel Stumpf with two runners aboard and one out. That prompted Francona to call upon Guyer, who entered the night with a 153 wRC+ and .921 OPS against lefties this year. Guyer connected on a fastball low and inside, pulling it out to left for a three-run homer. It marked the third pinch-hit homer of Guyer's career and the first for an Indians batter this season.
"Any time you can come through for the team, that's what I work for," Guyer said. "I never know when my name's going to be called, but obviously in that situation, when a lefty's warming up, I'm ready and locked in to see what's going to happen. They brought him in and that happened."
Getting closer: In an effort to get closer Cody Allen back on track, Francona is looking for opportunistic spots outside of the ninth inning. On Friday, Allen entered with one out, a runner on first and the game tied, 3-3, in the seventh. The reliever induced an inning-ending, 3-6-3 double play against Jeimer Candelario, and then Allen recorded two more outs in the eighth.
"I thought it was a chance to jump-start him," Francona said. "I thought he could go through the middle of the order and I like the idea of him having to come in and right now make a pitch."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the fifth inning, Candelario sliced a pitch from Carrasco down the left-field line, where it dropped in front of Brantley. The left fielder casually retrieved the ball from the grass, while Candelario tried to pull off a hustle double. Brantley then made a strong, precise throw to second baseman Jason Kipnis, who applied the tag on the runner for an out. Carrasco struck out the next two batters to sidestep any harm in the frame.
"Instead of a man on second with nobody out, they've got nobody on and one out," Francona said. "That's a great throw and a good tag."
NAQUIN OUT WITH INJURY
Center fielder Tyler Naquin was scratched from Friday's lineup shortly before the game due to soreness in his right hip. The Indians had imaging done on Naquin and are sending the outfielder back to Cleveland to gather more information on the severity of the injury. In all likelihood, the Indians will make a roster move prior to Saturday's game. The most likely callup would be outfielder Greg Allen from Triple-A Columbus.
"His hip started bothering him," Francona said. "I guess it's been kind of bothering him when he wakes up in the mornings. Today, when he went out to get loose, do his outfield drills, it started to hurt him a little bit. So, we got him scanned and the doctor's just not comfortable releasing him to play. So, we're going to send him back to Cleveland."
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-6, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe on Saturday, when the Tigers host the Indians at 6:10 p.m. ET at Comerica Park. Clevinger has a 2.62 ERA in 10 road starts this season. Detroit will counter with lefty Blaine Hardy (3-3, 3.77).
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.