The Detroit Tigers began a three game series in Cleveland tonight, marking a return to the place where the early season mojo was lost back in May. The Tigers took game one by a score of 6-4. Rick Porcello(W, 3.76 ERA) was as good as he’s been in his most recent starts. He hit his spots, and while he got into trouble at several different times in the game, he was able to work his way out of them without letting a run cross the plate.
Porcello started the game strong with a one-two-three first inning. In the second, Lonnie Chisenhall singled with one out, but was put out on the double play hit into by Nick Swisher in the next at bat. Ian Kinsler made a phenomenal diving stop on the Swisher ball, then shuttled the ball to Suarez for the first out of the inning ending double play. Porcello found himself with multiple base runners again in the third inning after Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles both singled, but was able to get out of the threat by getting Asdrubal Cabrera to pop up and out and end the threat.
In the fourth inning Porcello retired the first two batters before giving up a walk to Chisenhall, but Swisher once again ended the inning with a ground ball. Rick had his second one-two-three inning of the game in the fifth.
Things got a bit dicey in the sixth with Michael Bourn leading off with a single, but a fantastic 3-6-3 double play that showed off Miggy’s defensive skills at first base. Porcello then gave up back-to-back singles to Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana, before popping up Chisenhall to end the scoring threat and keep the Indians off the board. That ended Porcello’s start with a line of 6.0IP, 6H, 0R/ER, 1BB, 3K.
Al Alburquerque took over in the seventh and looked fantastic as he sat all three hitters he faced and notched two strikeouts.
Ian Krol came out for the eighth and started off with back to back dribbler singles before giving up a three run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera and then allowing a solo shot to Santana to allow the Indians to pull within one run. Krol recorded the second out of the inning on a strikeout and then was replaced by Joba Chamberlain who recorded the final out of the inning to stop the Indians rally a run shy of a tie.
Joe Nathan was on with a two run lead in the ninth inning and retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a bloop single to Michael Brantley. Nathan then retired Michael Bourne to take the save and end the game.
The Detroit Tigers offense, which has been struggling up and down the order, again struggled with leaving men on base. They had scoring opportunities in several innings, but unlike recent games, they were able to connect and put some insurance runs on the board.
J.D. Martinez continued his hot streak and singled in the second to start the hitting for the Tigers. Nick Castellanos ground into a double play in the next at bat though, and the inning was over without a real scoring threat. Don Kelly led off the third and doubled to start things off but was picked off on an attempt to steal third base during Eugenio Suarez‘s at bat, which resulted in a single. Kelly’s caught stealing looked as if it could have been a botched or misread hit and run attempt. After Suarez’s hit, Ian Kinsler walked and the Tigers had a runner in scoring position, but Austin Jackson popped up to end the threat.
The Indians’ starting pitcher Corey Kluber wasn’t able to get out of trouble unscathed in the fourth inning, though, after Miguel Cabrera singled, Victor Martinez hit a towering, no-doubt home run to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Bryan Holaday led off the seventh with a base hit, but also recorded the final out of the inning, as he was caught stealing during Kinsler’s at bat.
With two outs in the eighth inning and Cabrera on base on a fielder’s choice, the Indians walked Martinez the elder and were made to pay when Martinez the younger hit a three run home run to give the Tigers some insurance.
Rajai Davis pinch hit for Don Kelly in the top of the fifth and led off with a double. and scored on a Kinsler double.