The Detroit Tigers were not playing particularly well coming into their weekend series against the Cleveland Indians, following a series loss to the New York Yankees and a current 3-game losing streak. Detroit had swept Cleveland two weekends before on their home field, which at the time moved their record to 6-0. This week however, was a different story. The bats cooled off considerably, and the guys who had been pitching well in the rotation got absolutely shelled. In the end, Detroit did claw their way to a series win against Cleveland and finish 5-5 on the 10-game home stand.
GAME 1: CLEVELAND 13, DETROIT 1
WP: Danny Salazar (2-0)
LP: Shane Greene (3-1)
Tigers starting pitcher Shane Greene (3-1, 3.00 ERA) was absolutely rolling prior to his start Friday against the Indians. He mowed down his first three opponents, only giving up only one earned run through 23 innings of work. Cleveland was not about to have any of that, as they blasted Greene with authority. He went only four innings, giving up eight earned runs on nine hits. A combination of Alex Wilson and Al Alburquerque finished the game for Greene, giving up five more earned runs and three long balls, two off the bat of Indians right fielder Brandon Moss.
Moss had a career day, driving in seven runs alone. His RBI total jumped from two to nine in one game.
This was all Cleveland on Friday, as the bats did not show up for Detroit either. Tigers hitters struck out 13 times against Indians pitchers. Cleveland starter Danny Salazar accounted for 11 of those K’s, as he pitched seven strong innings, yielding only one earned run on six hits. The only real bright spot at the plate for Detroit was from second baseman Ian Kinsler, who went 2-for-2 with two walks as well.
GAME 2: DETROIT 4, CLEVELAND 1
WP: Alfredo Simon (4-0)
LP: T.J. House (0-3)
S: Joakim Soria (6)
The roles were reversed on Sautrday as opposed to the night before….sort of. Detroit didn’t put up double-digit runs, but they did keep Cleveland off the board thanks to some good pitching. Starter Alfredo Simon (4-0, 1.65 ERA) went 6 2/3 innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits on a day where both the Tigers and Indians donned uniforms from the Negro League days.
Detroit Stars (Tigers) designated hitter Victor Martinez was the hero on Saturday, going 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, which was more than enough for Simon and the rest of the bullpen. Tigers hitters did strike out another ten times on the afternoon against Cleveland Buckeyes (Indians) pitching.
Indians center fielder and Tiger killer Michael Brantley had him self a Michael Brantley-esque game, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and knocking in the lone run for Cleveland.
GAME 3: DETROIT 8, CLEVELAND 6
WP: Kyle Lobstein (2-1)
LP: Carlos Carrasco (2-2)
S: Joakim Soria (7)
The rubber match in Sunday’s matinee was tightly contested, as Detroit was trying to salvage not only a series win, but also a .500 record on their 10-game homestand. Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein (2-1, 3.50 ERA) made his second start of the season already against Cleveland, and pitched another quality start for the Tigers. He pitched seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. The bullpen made the game a little closer than it actually was for much of the contest, but in the end, closer Joakim Soria shut the door, recording his seventh save in seven save chances for Detroit.
The Tigers bats grew more alive as the series went on. With the exception of third baseman Nick Castellanos, who snapped his 9-game hitting streak on Sunday, every starter for Detroit had at least one hit. Tigers center fielder Rajai Davis extended his own hitting streak to nine games as well, going 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored. Davis left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning due a tight right groin, and is listed as day-to-day.
Tigers slugger first baseman Miguel Cabrera hit his third home run of the season, also going 3-for-4 on the day with three runs batted in and two runs scored. He is now hitting .377 on the young 2015 season, just a mere .002 points behind shortstop Jose Iglesias for the team-led in batting average.
Tigers three stars of the series
1. Miguel Cabrera: .444 AVG., 1 HR, 4 BB, 3 RBI
2. Victor Martinez: .300 AVG., 4 RBI, 1 BB
3. Alfredo Simon: 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 K