Tigers stall In­di­ans ti­tle push

The Detroit News - - Baseball - BY CHRIS MCCOSKY The Detroit News

Cleve­land — The In­di­ans had the cham­pagne on ice some­where in the back of their club­house.

If they beat the Tigers on Fri­day night, and the Twins lost in Kansas City, the In­di­ans could cel­e­brate their third straight Amer­i­can League Cen­tral Di­vi­sion ti­tle. The Tigers didn’t get the memo.

Jeimer Can­de­lario, who led off the game with his 19th home run, dou­bled in a run in a tworun sev­enth in­ning and the Tigers doused the In­di­ans’ party plans, 5-4.

The win ended a 10-game los­ing streak at Pro­gres­sive Field for the Tigers, dat­ing to last Septem­ber.

The In­di­ans had just tied the score at 2 in the bot­tom of the sixth when rookie Dawel Lugo dou­bled off re­liever Adam Cim­ber and went to third on a sac­ri­fice bunt by Pete Kozma.

In­di­ans manager Terry Fran­cona sum­moned All-Star re­liever An­drew Miller, mak­ing his third ap­pear­ance since com­ing off the dis­abled list.

Can­de­lario banged his first pitch off the left-field wall to break the tie.

Af­ter Christin Stewart was safe on a fielder’s choice — Can­de­lario was thrown out at third — Nick Castel­lanos, who pro­duced his 51st multi-hit game of the year, walked.

That set the stage for Vic­tor Martinez. Play­ing his fi­nal se­ries at Pro­gres­sive Field, where his ca­reer be­gan with the In­di­ans in 2002, Martinez lashed a dou­ble to score Stewart.

In 472 games be­fore his two hits Fri­day, Martinez had hit .296/.377/.453 with an .830 OPS, with 51 home runs and 288 RBIs at Pro­gres­sive.

The Tigers en­trusted the tworun lead to rookie right-han­der Spencer Turn­bull, who, in his ma­jor-league de­but, put the In­di­ans down in or­der in the sev­enth in­ning.

With a fast­ball that was ring­ing in at 95-96 mph, Turn­bull, who is ex­pected to get a start or two in the fi­nal weeks, struck out Yan Gomes and got ground outs from Ja­son Kip­nis and Fran­cisco Lin­dor.

The Tigers stole the fifth run. More ac­cu­rate, Ja­Coby Jones stole it. He beat out an in­field sin­gle and stole sec­ond. Re­liever Neil Ramirez struck out Lugo, but the ball got past catcher Gomes.

Jones sped around third and didn’t stop when Gomes threw to first to com­plete the strike­out. Jones slid around the tag at­tempt by Ramirez. It turned out to be a valu­able run.

Af­ter Joe Jimenez stuck out two in a clean eighth in­ning, the In­di­ans put run­ners at the cor­ners with no outs against closer Shane Greene.

Melky Cabr­era’s sac­ri­fice fly to deep cen­ter field cut the lead to 5-3.

A ground ball sin­gle to right by Gomes put the ty­ing runs on base. Speedy former Tiger Ra­jai Davis ran for Gomes at first.

Kip­nis hit what looked like a dou­ble-play grounder to first, but Ronny Ro­driguez bob­bled it. He got the out at first by the fourth run crossed the plate and Davis was at sec­ond with the ty­ing run.

That brought up Lin­dor. With left-handed hit­ting Michael Brantley on deck, the Tigers opted to pitch to Lin­dor.

Greene got Lin­dor to fly out to right, earn­ing his 29th save.

The first five in­nings be­longed to starter Matthew Boyd. He al­lowed just one hit and seven strike­outs and took a 2-0 lead into the sixth.

But the In­di­ans are noth­ing if not ex­plo­sive. And with one out in the sixth, Ed­win Encarnacion and Josh Don­ald­son each sent fast­balls from Boyd into the left­field seats.

Encarnacion hit a first-pitch fast­ball, Don­ald­son a 3-0 fast­ball — both read 91 mph on the radar gun and both were in up and over the plate.

Those two pitches marred what had been a strong out­ing by Boyd. It was the eighth start in his last 11 that he al­lowed three runs or less. And in eight ca­reer starts against the pow­er­ful In­di­ans of­fense, he’s only once al­lowed more than three runs.

That was the last time he pitched at Pro­gres­sive Field, on June 24 when the In­di­ans beat him up for six runs in three in­nings.

Boyd gave no­tice that it was go­ing to be dif­fer­ent on this night in the first in­ning. Af­ter Lin­dor sin­gled and romped to third af­ter the ball scooted by left fielder Stewart (two-base er­ror), Boyd stranded him there.

He struck out Michael Brantley (look­ing), Encarnacion (swing­ing) and Don­ald­son (look­ing).

Drew VerHa­gen (3-2) earned the win by get­ting the last two outs of the sixth in­ning.

Can­de­lario got the Tigers go­ing, hit­ting the third pitch of the game from In­di­ans starter Josh Tom­lin 422 feet into the seats in right field.

Dou­bles by Jim Ad­duci and Jones made it 2-0 in the fourth.

Ron Schwane/As­so­ci­ated Press

Jeimer Can­de­lario, right, cel­e­brates with third base coach Dave Clark af­ter hit­ting a solo home run.

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