Ubaldo Jimenez was on top of his game Wednesday night, but the Tigers’ late rally and a strong start from Doug Fister boosted Detroit to a 7-1 win to cap a three-game series at Comerica Park and prevent the Indians from completing the sweep. The loss drops the Tribe to 58-79, 16.5 games out in the AL Central.
At first it looked like Jimenez was in for a rough outing. After giving up a leadoff single to Austin Jackson to start the bottom of the first, he served up a juicy pitch to Miguel Cabrera that the slugger drove out of the park for a one-out two-run homer. But while Detroit took an early 2-0 lead, Ubaldo settled down after that, shutting the Tigers out on three hits over the next 6.2 innings.
Meanwhile, it took the Tribe some time to get going against Fister, who was working on a one-hit shutout after three innings. Then, in the fourth, Jason Kipnis led off with a single. Carlos Santana‘s one-out base hit put runners at the corners to set up Michael Brantley‘s RBI single. The mini-rally cut the scoring deficit in half, but it was also the last time the Indians got a hit Wednesday.
The game was close until the bottom of the eighth. After retiring Omar Infante for the first out, Jimenez walked Jackson and gave up an RBI triple to Andy Dirks. Cody Allen entered the game and gave up a sacrifice fly to Cabrera and a home run to Prince Fielder; former Indian Jhonny Peralta later capped the rally with a two-run double as the Tigers took a 7-1 lead. A scoreless ninth sealed the Tribe’s fate as Detroit won the series finale.
The Good: Take out the eighth inning and Ubaldo Jimenez had a terrific night. Ubaldo held the Tigers to two runs on five hits through his first seven frames without allowing a walk.
Offensively, Jason Kipnis carried the torch, going 2-for-4.
The Bad: Hitting was a problem once again Wednesday as Cleveland managed just a run on four hits and two walks against Doug Fister, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. Fister’s a great pitcher and there’s no shame in getting beaten by him, but you can’t say that every game the Indians play.
The “Huh?”: This isn’t just specific to Wednesday, but why is Ezequiel Carrera playing left field instead of center? We already know that Michael Brantley is much better in left than center, and Carrera certainly has the raw athleticism that’s a prerequisite for handling center field. Why not give him the chance to show what he can do over the season’s final month?
Interesting Tidbit: Doug Fister now has a 2.13 ERA in 12 career starts against Cleveland. That’s the best mark he has against any team that he’s faced more than once.