Getting a sweep on the road is always great. Getting a sweep on the road against a division rival is even better. Getting a sweep against the team that started the Detroit Tigers’ prolonged funk, the Cleveland Indians, is priceless.
It was just about a month ago that the Detroit Tigers began their alarmingly rapid descension from 27-12 by dropping three straight games in Cleveland. They flipped the script this weekend and swept the Indians at Progressive Field, putting an exclamation point on the series with a 10-4 destruction on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers’ bats got busy early off Tribe starter Josh Tomlin (4-5) when Miguel Cabrera launched a solo homer, his 13th of the season, in the first inning. Miggy kept swinging the hot stick when a third-inning single up the middle brought home Ian Kinsler for the second run.
The flood gates opened in the fifth inning when Detroit batters showed no mercy after a couple of Cleveland errors. Once again Cabrera brought home Kinsler for the third Tigers’ run on what appeared to be a force play at second. Further review showed that Asdrubal Cabrera did not hold on to the ball and Austin Jackson was ruled safe at second. Victor Martinez then hit a shot to center which Michael Bourn misjudged and allowed it to pop out of his glove, loading the bases.
Red-hot J.D. Martinez doubled over the head of Bourn, scoring two more runs, to make it 5-0. The Tigers added four more runs in that inning to put the game out of reach. They went on to add another run in the sixth.
After arguably the worst start of his career, Max Scherzer (9-3) was much better. Though his pitch count was driven up early, he meandered out of a couple jams along the way. After the Tigers’ seven-run onslaught, which kept Scherzer on the bench for nearly 40 minutes, he came back in the bottom of the fifth and gave up a single with one out, but appeared to get out of it with a double-play. Max and the rest of the team left the field to prepare for their at-bats, but Cleveland manager Terry Francona came out late to challenge the call at first, and it was overturned.
Scherzer allowed a single to Cabrera and a double to Michael Brantley to surrender his lone run of the day. His final line was 6 IP, six hits, one run, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
The Tigers used their sizable lead to give their young pitchers, all recently recalled from the minor leagues, some action. Blaine Hardy continued to impress by throwing a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Patrick McCoy, who was called up from Toledo Saturday night to take the place of a DL-headed Ian Krol, made his major league debut and was sharp. He struck out the first batter he faced and weathered a two-out base hit to pitch a scoreless eighth inning.
One inning later, Chad Smith, who was called up in place of a struggling Evan Reed on Tuesday, made his major league debut as well. He did not fare as well, allowing three singles and a double for three runs after recording two quick outs. He fanned Jason Kipnis for the final out.
It has been quite some time since multiple pitchers have made their major league debut in the same game for Detroit:
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) June 22, 2014
The Tigers take a day off on Monday before doing the Texas two-step through Arlington and Houston to face the Rangers and Astros respectively. First up, the Prince Fielder-less Rangers.
Much like with Cleveland this weekend, the Tigers will have a score to settle with Texas, who won three of four games at Comerica Park in late May.