After tagging Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander for five runs in the first two innings, the Cleveland Indians ran away with their four-run lead and defeated the Tigers for the second time in a row on Tuesday by the score of 6-2 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
Torii Hunter started things early for the Tigers (27-14) and it appeared that the travel problems to Cleveland were behind them. Hunter belted a 3-1 fastball on a line to center field that was able to carry the fence for the 1-0 in the top of the first inning. The homer was Hunter’s only hit on the night, as he finished 1-for-4. After the 39-year-old went on a hot streak, he has cooled off in the past 10 games, batting just .211 with but has now hit a couple homers.
It was all Indians (21-25) in the next two innings. After Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley singles, Lonnie Chisenhall dropped a 1-0 fastball into right field in front of Hunter to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Cabrera felt comfortable against Verlander from the left side on Tuesday night, going 2-for-3 with a walk.
Three doubles (Nick Swisher, Mike Aviles, Michael Bourn) mixed in with a Yan Gomes walk gave the Indians a four-run second inning off Verlander, to give the home a 5-1 lead after two innings. Swisher and Bourn both also picked up multiple hits, as Verlander struggled with his command early–especially against left-handed batters–but would settle down for the rest of his outing.
Verlander would stretch his day six innings, but the former American League MVP allowed five earned runs on 11 hits while walking three and striking out just two. Verlander has now inflated his ERA up to 3.55 for the 2014 season after a couple of off outings for the righty.
Trevor Bauer pitched an outstanding ballgame for the Indians, allowing just two runs on seven hits over the course of six innings. Bauer only really made two mistakes all night. One, to Hunter in the first inning and two, an Alex Avila home run to centerfield that was reviewed but upheld. Bauer also recorded five strikeouts against the Tigers and lowered his ERA in the meantime to 2.25 for the season.
Avila went 2-for-2 with a home run and a walk on Tuesday night, boosting his on-base percentage to .351 which is third on the team to only Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Cabrera increased his hitting streak to 11 games and is hitting .447 during the streak. The former Triple Crown winner looks to be back in MVP form.
The Tigers take the final game of the series against their AL Central foe, the Indians, on Wednesday afternoon. Reigning AL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer will be on the bump for the Tigers, as he is set to face Zach McAllister, who sports a 3-4 record and a 5.36 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. from Progressive Field.