Detroit Tigers win first game of key series with Cleveland Indians

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The Cleveland Indians had been playing better since the Detroit Tigers left Cleveland last week after winning three of four. The Indians are very much alive in the wild card race, however they needed a strong performance against the Tigers this weekend to solidify those chances. At least in the first game that was not meant to be.

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David Price pitched a strong 7.2 innings and the Tigers got timely hitting, including yet another homer from J.D. Martinez against the Indians, to cruise to a 7-2 victory on Friday night.

Old scourge Ryan Raburn notched the game’s first run with just his fourth homer of the season off Price in the second inning. Raburn is having a dreadful year, but he played well tonight, notching two hits and made a nice catch in right field, but Price limited the damage from the rest of the lineup. He ended his night by allowing one run on eight hits with no walks and 7 strikeouts.

Detroit evened the score in the third inning when Ian Kinsler scored Victor Martinez on a clutch base hit with two outs. One inning later, Miguel Cabrera lined a shot off Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco and he would have reached first safely but Carrasco forced the throw and it ended up in right field, allowing for a hobbled Cabrera to take second base.

One batter later, in stepped J.D. Mart who hit a no-doubter to left field to make it 3-1. From there it was on as the Tigers piled on four runs in the seventh inning via a Victor Martinez base hit, another clutch hit from J.D. Mart (a triple that scored two),  and an infield base hit from Alex Avila brought home the seventh run.

J.D. Mart is having quite the year, but especially against the Indians. His homer and four RBIs gave him six of his 21 homers against the Tribe and he has batted in 18 against them.

Jim Johnson appeared in relief and set down the first three Cleveland batters he faced in order before allowing a run-scoring double with two out in the ninth inning.

Detroit is now 7-4 over their last 11 games and should the Boston Red Sox hold on to a late two-run lead in Kansas City (playing in the seventh at the time this is posted), the Tigers would move into first place all by themselves for the first time since late July.

The Tigers will look to clinch a series victory and also clinch an advantage in the season series when Kyle Lobstein tries to continue his string of recent successful starts up against Danny Salazar. Game time is set for 7:08 p.m.

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