The Indians secured a series win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, as the highly-touted Trevor Bauer made his debut as a permanent member of the Tribe’s rotation rather than a one-game visitor. The Indians took advantage of a less-than-dominant Justin Verlander to pile up 11 hits and three walks on the way to five earned runs against the Tigers’ ace. Verlander only struck out two batters in six innings of work. Meanwhile, Bauer allowed only two runs on seven hits and three walks during his six innings, both of which came on solo home runs.
Bottom of the 1st, Indians trail 0-1
Torii Hunter gave the Tigers the early lead with a solo home run, but a trio of singles by Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall tied the game at 1-1.
Bottom of the 2nd, tied 1-1
Carlos Santana led off the inning with a single, but was thrown out at second when he tried to stretch it into an extra-base hit. Nick Swisher made up for it with a ground-rule double down the right-field line that bounced into the stands with some help from a fan. After walking Yan Gomes, Verlander gave up two runs on an RBI-double to Mike Aviles. Michael Bourn followed with an RBI-double of his own, before stealing a base and scoring on a single by Cabrera.
Bottom of the 7th, Indians lead 5-2
Alex Avila had trimmed the Tribe’s lead to three runs with a solo shot in the fifth inning. With Evan Reed pitching, David Murphy blasted a ball over the right-field wall to put the Indians back into a non-save situation.
Every player in the lineup had at least one hit. (Yes, that even includes Santana.) Bourn, Cabrera and Swisher, who have all struggled in the early part of the season, had two hits each. The Tribe’s defense also looked as though it had turned a corner, with no errors and three double plays. But the biggest reason to be optimistic was the performance of Bauer. Bauer only struck out five, but he turned in a quality start and threw 65 percent of his pitches for strikes. He didn’t allow the two home runs to rattle him, and did a great job of limiting the damage.
The lineup did their job, the pitching staff was terrific and the defense played cleanly. The lone mistake was a base-running error, when Santana tried to make it to second base on a ball that died in the grass just beyond the infield and was quickly recovered by first baseman Miguel Cabrera. As rare as hits are for Santana at the present time, he can’t afford to turn them into outs.
Check It Out
– Indians’ pitchers still lead major league baseball in strikeouts, with 397. Surprisingly, the Tigers are ranked 25th in the league with 323 strikeouts, despite having what is considered to be the best rotation in baseball. However, Detroit has played five fewer games than most teams, so they’ll have plenty of time to remedy that.
– Last year, the Tigers had 35 stole bases for the year. In 2014, they’ve already swiped 37 bags. That’s tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the second-highest total in the majors, behind only Dee Gordon and the Dodgers.
– Chisenhall has actually managed to improve in May, despite his hot start to the season. In April, he hit .362/.412/.489 in 51 plate appearances. This month, he’s hit .381/.469/.476 in the same number of appearances. Maybe that’s why he was slotted into the cleanup spot on Tuesday night.