Derek Lowe had a rough afternoon and the Tribe’s attempts to erase Detroit’s commanding lead were unsuccessful as the Tigers beat the Indians, 7-5, in the finale of a three-game series at Comerica Park. The loss drops the Indians to 30-26, 2.5 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox, while the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 26-31.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to figure Lowe out. Six pitches into the bottom of the first Quintin Berry and Brennan Boesch had both reached with base hits, and both scored on Prince Fielder and Delmon Young‘s one-out RBI singles. Jhonny Peralta then reached on a fielder’s choice before Lowe’s wild pitch scored Fielder and moved Peralta to scoring position. Don Kelly‘s RBI single capped the four-run rally.
Meanwhile, the Indians didn’t get anything going against Detroit starter Casey Crosby until the top of the fourth. Jason Kipnis drew a leadoff walk, then stole second as Prince Fielder misplayed what would have been a pickoff. Jose Lopez then got the Indians on the board with an RBI double. But the Tigers roared back in the bottom of the inning with two consecutive balls that cleared the fence—Boesch drove in Danny Worth with a ground rule double and Miguel Cabrera smacked Lowe’s next offering over the right field wall to give Detroit a commanding 7-1 lead.
Cleveland started a comeback attempt in the sixth as Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a walk and Kipnis followed with a double; Carlos Santana‘s groundout brought Cabrera home and Kipnis scored on Lopez’ sacrifice fly. The Indians then got one of their trademark two-out rallies in the seventh as Lou Marson and Shin-Soo Choo singled with two away to set the stage for Cabrera’s two-run double. With two outs and the bases loaded Lopez hit a long drive to center that would likely have been a grand slam at Progressive Field but was a flyout in cavernous Comerica.
The Indians threatened again in the eighth, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate with one out, but the would-be really proved fruitless. Scott Barnes and Jeremy Accardo kept the Tribe in the game with three shutout innings but the valiant comeback was insufficient and Detroit came away with a 7-5 victory.
The Good: This team never said die. Most fans probably wouldn’t blame a team for assuming the fat lady had sung when they were down by four runs after one inning or six after four, but the Indians were in it to win it until the end. In fact, one could reasonably argue that Jose Lopez’ long flyout would have completed the unlikely comeback in a more normally sized stadium.
Jason Kipnis was the Tribe’s offensive MVP, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. Shin-Soo Choo (2-for-5 with a run) and Casey Kotchman (2-for-4) also had multihit games.
The Bad: Derek Lowe. The crafty veteran has been Cleveland’s best starter in 2012 but he had a really rough afternoon, giving up seven runs on nine hits (including a home run) with a walk and a wild pitch. He had no problem inducing grounders, but they just got through holes—six of the Tigers’ nine hits against him were on ground balls.
Interesting Tidbit: Derek Lowe fanned four Tigers despite taking the loss Thursday. It was the first time he’d struck out more than three batters while getting an ‘L’ since September 10, 2011.