With the Detroit Tigers floundering in the standings a few weeks back, their challenging stretch of 15 road games out of 18 looked particularly daunting. With their 11-4 extra innings victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night, the Tigers won three of four in the important divisional series to finish 11-7 during that stretch.
The Tigers looked like they would be in cruise control early on when they took a 4-0 lead in the first inning with Max Scherzer on the mound. The bats went cold for the remainder of the nine innings and Scherzer allowed Cleveland to chip away at the lead, departing after six innings with a one-run lead.
Though the Tigers won three of the four games in the series, they had a problem with leaving runners on base. Thursday was no different, leaving 10 on the bases and missing great scoring opportunities. Facing the same situation as an inning earlier (with runners on the corner and one out) Suarez delivered. Dropping in a base hit into left which scored two runs. From there the Tigers added on and Victor Martinez hit his 29th homer to bring home three.
Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke (who earned the win), and Jim Johnson kept the Indians scoreless for the final four innings. Johnson is looking better in each outing, striking out two and Coke has completely turned his season around. It was not long ago he could not record outs, now his ERA is down to 3.88.
The Tigers, now one game behind the Royals, will be looking for revenge for the 2012 World Series as they welcome in the San Francisco Giants to Comerica Park for a weekend series. Rick Porcello (15-9, 3.10) will face Jake Peavy (3-4, 2.66), a pitcher the Tigers have had a lot of success against recently.