CLEVELAND– The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians started their first of three in weekend series that can impact the AL Central pennant race immensely. The Indians can decrease their magic number by six with a sweep of Detroit and the Tigers could inch closer in the division with a few wins in this series. 29,137 fans were in attendance to see the Indians magic number drop down to 9 games.
To start off the game the Tigers went 1-2-3 , Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber struck out their first two batters and Miguel Cabrera flew out to deep center field to end the inning.
For the Indians half of the first , Carlos Santana hit a deep fly ball to the wall in center field but was caught by Cameron Maybin. Jason Kipnis hit a single to get things started for the Indians , and Francisco Lindor followed things up with a single of his own that moved Kipnis from first to third. Lindor stole second during the Mike Napoli at-bat. Napoli hit a fly ball to left field, but in what appeared to look like a routine play, Justin Upton lost the ball in the sky and the ball bounced over the left field wall, which allowed Kipnis and Lindor to score off of Napoli’s ground rule double. The Indians took the early 2-0 lead.
During the Tigers half of the second, Upton made up for his mistake in the field and hit a homer to Right Center Field to decrease the Indians lead by 1 run. Erick Aybar followed with a single and James McCann was walked but when Andrew Romine hit a grounder into the gap between second and first it took a great play from Kipnis to retire Romine which ended the Tigers half of the 2nd.
Tyler Naquin started off the Indians half of the second with a single, Abraham Almonte followed with a single to Left Field. Roberto Perez had a Sacrifice Bunt to move Naquin and Almonte. Santana hit a ground ball between second and first which allowed Naquin and Almonte to score, Santana advanced to second on a McCann error. Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly to Center Field which moved Santana to third. Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer struck out Lindor to end the Indians half of the inning. Indians were leading after 2 with a score of 4-1.
Kluber sent down the Tigers 1-2-3 once again in their half of the 3rd.
For the Indians, Napoli starts off the 3rd with a walk, Fulmer balked which allowed Napoli to advance to 2nd base. Jose Ramirez was up next and he was also walked. CoCo Crisp grounded into a 6-4-3 double play but allowed Napoli to move to 3rd. Naquin flied out to center to end the Indians 3rd.
Victor Martinez started off the Tigers 4th with a single but an Upton walk was the only other thing to show for them during the 4th.
In the bottom of the fourth, Fulmer set the Indians down 1-2-3 for the first time in the game.
The Tigers went down quietly again in the 5th, going down 1-2-3.
For the Indians, Kipnis was walked to start off the fifth. Lindor hit a grounder to Ian Kinsler in what appeared to be a double play ball, Kipnis thought otherwise though when he spun around Kinsler and safely advanced to second base.
The following batter was Napoli who hit a 411 feet homer to the Home Run Porch in Left Field , which extended their lead to 6-1. Ramirez flew out to Left and CoCo struck out to end the fifth.
During the Tigers half of the sixth inning, Kluber ran in to some trouble when he started off the inning by walking Cabrera and followed up by hitting Martinez in the knee. After a J.D. Martinez fly out to center, Upton hit his 2nd homer of the game this time to center, inching the Tigers closer 6-4.
Michael Fulmer was taken out to start off the sixth, Shane Greene came in on relief. Fulmer pitched 5 innings, 7 hits, 6 runs all earned, 3 walks, and 3 strike outs.
During the sixth inning for the Indians, Naquin got things started with a single, Almonte followed with a double to Right Field. Perez hit a sacrifice fly to center, Naquin scores and Almonte advanced to third with an error on Tigers center fielder, Maybin. Indians extended their to 7-4. Santana struck out and Kipnis grounded out to third base to end the inning.
In the 7th inning, Romine started the inning off with a lead-off double for the Tigers, but the next three batters went down in order.
In the bottom of the 7th, Bruce Rondon came in on relief for Greene after 1 inning, 2 hits, 1 earned run, and 1 strike out. Lindor started off the inning flying out to left field. Napoli got things started in the inning with a single, Rondon balked which advanced Napoli to second. Ramirez hit a RBI single past Cabrera which extended the Indians lead 8-4. Ramirez stole on the next pitch. Crisp struck out for the second straight at-bat and Naquin flew out to center to end the Indians half of the seventh.
Andrew Miller came on to start off the 8th inning for the Indians, meaning Corey Kluber’s night was done. Kluber went 7 innings, 5 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 7 strike outs, 2 home runs given up, and 1 HBP.
Miller started off the inning walking Victor Martinez , struck out the next two batters , and Aybar grounded out to Napoli which his only play was throwing it to second.
Joe Mantiply came in on relief for Rondon, Mantiply walked Almonte to start off the 8th. Rajai Davis came in to pinch run following the walk. Mantiply went to pick-off Davis at first, but Davis stole 2nd base and with a bad throw from Miguel Cabrera, Davis was able to advance to 3rd. Perez joined the hit parade in the 8th inning with an RBI single to left field, Davis scored , Indians increased their lead 9-4. Santana hit a single, Kipnis hit a ground rule double to center field which scored Perez and advanced Santana to third. Indians were then up 10-4. Mantiply intentionally walked Lindor , leaving the bases loaded for Napoli. Mantiply would be done for the evening, Mark Lowe would come in to face Napoli. Lowe struck out Napoli with 6 pitches for the first out of the inning. Ramirez would hit a sacrifice fly, extending the lead 11-4. Michael Martinez , who came in defensively in the 8th hit a pop up to the catcher to end the inning.
Dan Otero came in during the 9th for the Indians. Otero set the Tigers down 1-2-3 to end the game.
Cleveland Indians improve to 85-62 and the Detroit Tigers fall to 78-69 on the season. Kluber gets the win improving to 17-9 on the year, and Fulmer gets the loss falling to 10-7. Indians have Carlos Carrasco on the mound tomorrow going against Justin Verlander, first pitch 4:10 pm EST.