Indians 4, Tigers 3: Offense comes up short as Jose Valverde blows first save

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In what became a battle of the bullpens, it would be the Indians' pen which would come through in the late innings in a come-from-behind victory over the Tigers.

The Cleveland Indians used a ninth inning rally against Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde to send the game into extras, where they would close out the game in 10 innings for a 4-3 victory.The Indians take the last two games of the weekend series, moving into a first place tie in the Central with the Tigers.

Neither starting pitcher would be around for the decision, the bullpens deciding the game.,

Joe Smith (1-0), the third of five Indians pitchers, tossed a scoreless ninth to record the victory. Cody Allen pitched to one batter in the tenth to record his first save.

Darin Downs (0-1) pitched the tenth for the Tigers,allowing two hits and run to take the loss. Jose Valverde couldn't protect a one run lead in the ninth, charged with his first blown save.

Michael Brantley had the game tying RBI in the ninth, Mark Reynolds the game winning RBI in the tenth for the Indians.

Braya Pena supplied the majority of the Tigers' offense with three hits, including a two run home run.

After Rick Porcello retired the side in order in the top of the first, the Tigers threatened against Zach McAllister, only to leave a runner in scoring position.

With one out, Torii Hunter and Miguel Caberea had back-to-back singles to left. But Ryan Raburn made his presence known by picking Prince Fielder's liner to right off his shoe tops to save a run. It wasn't the prettiest catch, but it cut any rally off at the knees. Victor Martinez struck out swinging to end the threat.

Stymied in the first, the Tigers got on the scoreboard in the second inning, the "Sunday lineup" coming through for two runs.

Don Kelly led off with a single, but was erased on Jhonny Peralta's ground ball. Peralta hustled down the line to beat out the double play. The hustle paid off when Brayan Pena clubbed a two run homer, a long drive clearing the high wall in right center, just left of the 365 mark. (MLB.com video)

Pena's second big fly of the season gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Porcello had no-hit the Tribe for 2 1/3 innings before Yan Gomes singled in the third. Micheal Brantley singled with two out, Hunter making the situation worse by airmailing the cut off man in a ridiculous attempt to throw out Gomes at third. It wasn't close, and it allowed Brantley to advance to second.

The bad fundamental baseball cost the Tigers a run when Jason Kipnis bounced a double into short left, two runs scoring on the play (no way Brantley would have scored if he was on first), tying the game at 2-all.

The #TTBDNS in the third, unable to capitalize on a one out opportunity.

Cabrera, doing what he does so well, go with the pitch, singled to right. McAllister worked carefully to Fielder, ultimately walking him. He then went to full counts on Martinez before he flew out and Kelly, who bounced out. Despite the elevated pitch count (56), McAllister pitched out of the jam.

Bottom of four, the game still knotted 2-all, Peralta led off with a ground ball to third with what should have been the first out. But Lonnie Chisenhall's throw short-hopped Carlos Santana, who couldn't make the play. The E-5 allowed Peralta to advance to second.

The hot hitting Pena sent a ground ball up the middle, but unlike last night, neither Kipnis or Asdrubal Cabrera could make a play. due to the ball deflecting off the bag for a Twins Hit infield single.

Runners now on the corners, Infante lifted a fly ball to medium right. The sacrifice fly brought home Peralta, the Tigers retaking the lead at 3-2. A Twins-style run if there ever was one.

Andy Dirks followed with a walk, Hunter loading the bases with a hard single to center. But Cabrera got under a high fastball, popping up, the second out of the inning on the infield fly rule.

It would be up to Fielder to try and break the game wide open. Instead, the inning came to end when Fielder stuck out swinging on what would have been ball three, a pitch frustratingly far outside.

On cue, Porcello allowed a lead off double to Gomes in the fifth. After one was out, he walked Brantley, with Tiger Killer Kipnis due to bat.

Porcello would make a bad situation worse, walking Kipnis, loading the bases. But it would be the Indians turn to come up empty in a bases juiced, one out situation. Cabrera scorched a one hopper to Infante, who nabbed the tricky hop, quickly starting a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning, bailing Porcello out of a huge jam of his own making.

Living dangerously, Jim Leyland let Porcello start the sixth inning, the Tigers clinging to a 3-2 lead. Porcello wrapped up this third straight quality start, setting the Tribe down in order, including his fifth and sixth strikeouts. Entering the dugout, Porcello was given the "Handshake of Doom" from Leyland, his day officially over.

Pitching in the seventh inning slot usually filled by injured Octavio Dotel slot was rookie Jose Ortega, who immediately pitched himself into a jam. He walked the lead off man, Chisenhall, Ortega's first base on balls allowed in four appearances. Gomes followed with a hard hit liner a lunging Cabrera could only get a piece of for a single.

Thankfully, Terry Francona did the Tigers a solid in asking Drew Stubbs to bunt. His first two attempts failed miserably, whiffing on the first and fouling off the second. Stubbs then struck out for the third time in the game.

Left-handed swinging Brantley and Kipnis due up, Leyland pulled Ortega, calling on Phil Coke. Coke, making his first appearance since coming off the 15-Day DL, only needed one pitch to end the inning. Brantley pounded Coke's mid-90's fastball into the turf, Infante starting a big 4-6-3 double play to dash the Indians' threat. It was the second time in three innings the Tigers' middle infield turned a double play to end an inning.

Right-hander Bryan Shaw took over for McAllister in the bottom of the seventh. Just as Ortega did in the top of the inning, Shaw walked the lead off man, Cabrera. But the Tigers could not get a rally started. Shaw struck out Fielder looking on breaking ball on the black, got Martinez on a can of corn to right and Donnie Baseball on a liner to right.

Coke started the eighth as the lefty swinging Kipnis would lead off the inning. Doing what he does best, being used as a glorified LOOGY, Coke got the first out on a fly ball to Kelly in deep center.

Leyland then went back to his standard bullpen bible, getting Coke the Hell out of there with three consecutive switch hitters due to the plate. Joaquin Benoit answered the bullpen phone.

Benoit walked Cabrera, but got out oif the inning by struck out both Swisher and Santana, setting up Valverde to get his fourth save.

Shaw would retire the Tigers in order in the ninth. There would be no insurance runs for Papa Grande,asked to nail shut a series win.

Who would be leading off the ninth for the Tribe? It was going to be Ryan Raburn, but Francona ruined the narrative by pinch hitting Michael Bourn. It turned out to be game changing move.

The finger nail chewing began in earnest when Valverde went to a full count on Bourn, then walked him. Not known for his ability to hold runners or quickly get the ball to the plate, Bourn easily stole second. Pena had no shot at throwing him out.

Having command issues and throwing nothing but fastball after fastball, Valverde went to a full count against Chisenhall before striking him out swinging on what would have been a high and outside ball four.

The Big Potato got himself a big out when Gomes foul pop was gloved by Fielder.

A professional pinch hitter at this point of his long career, Jason Giambi batted for Stubbs. Another 3-2 count ensued, but Giambi wouldn't go fishing at an outside fastball, drawing a two out walk.

Brantley at the plate and a runner in scoring position, he slashed a single to left. Dirks' throw was well off line, Bourn scoring the tying run. Tagged with his first blown save of the season, Valverde still needed to get the third out. Which he got, striking out Kipnis.

But the damage was done, the Indians trying the game at 3-all off a very Valverde-like Valverde, if you know what I mean.

Joe Smith on for the Tribe, Andy Dirks led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Hunter was asked to move him over by laying down a bunt. Having been a middle of the order hitter most his career, the bunting is a skill Hunter lacks. His two attempts at a sacrifice bunt were pounded foul into the plate. He then hit a come backer to Smith, which was turned into a 1-6-3 double play, despite a bad feed from the pitcher. Just an awful at bat for Hunter.

Cabrera made a bid to end the game, but his fly ball to right center died short of the warning track.

On to extra innings for the fifth time this season. The game would not end in 14 innings, the Indians needing only one extra frame.

Darin Downs started the tenth inning ... badly. Cabrera led off by doubling down the left field line. He then had third stolen while Swisher hit a come-backer to Downs for the first out.

After Santana was intentionally walked, runners on the corners, the Tigers then made a big defensive play on Bourn's roller to short. Peralta fired home to Pena. Doing his best imitation of brick wall, Cabrera was dead to rights at home, Pena blocking the plate for the second out of the inning.

But the Tigers couldn't dodge another bullet. Pinch hitting for Chisenhall, Reynolds came through with a two out, two strike RBI single to left, Santana scoring the lead run. Bourn was out in a rundown to end the inning with the Indians up 4-3.

Chris Perez did not get the call to close out the Tigers. Francona went with lefty Rich Hall to face Fielder. He hit an 0-2 pitch a ton, but to the wrong part of the park. Bourn ran down his long fly ball just short of the warning track in dead center.

Martinez went down swinging for out number two.

Playing match ups, Francona called Cody Allen out of the pen to face pinch hitter Matt Tuiasosopo. He struck out to end a miserable game for the Tigers.

Game over, the Tigers lose two of three to the Tribe. The story of the series? The Indians scored eight two out runs in their two wins over the Tigers.

Both the Tigers and Tribe have 20-15 record, good for a first place tie in the AL Central. The Tigers have lost two in a row and four of five. The Indians are on a tear, winners of two straight and 8-of-10.

The Tigers don't have much time to lick their wounds. It's actually a good thing, being the woeful Astros arrive for a three game series starting tomorrow night. Bud Norris (4-3, 3.40 ERA) takes on Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 1.97 ERA), first pitch is 7:08 PM.

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