Tigers 10, Indians 5: Infante homers twice, Jackson survives injury scare, Tigers take season high 8 1/2 game lead

Leon Halip

No Miguel Cabrera? No problem. Omar Infante homered twice for the Tigers in a 10-5 win over the Indians. The Tigers continue their domination over the Tribe, raising their record in the season series to 15-3 and their lead in the Central to 8 1/2 games.


Final - 8.31.2013 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland Indians 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 5 9 0
Detroit Tigers 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 4 X 10 15 0
WP: Anibal Sanchez (12 - 7)
LP: Scott Kazmir (7 - 7)


Miguel Cabrera sat out tonight's Detroit Tigers game with an abdominal injury. Minus the best hitter in the game, the Tigers' offense didn't miss a beat, getting power from a surprising source. Second baseman Omar Infante hit two home runs and had five RBIs, leading the Tigers to a 10-5 win over the Cleveland Indians. The Tigers have beat the Tribe seven straight and hold a 15-3 advantage in their season series.

Anibal Sanchez (12--7) enjoyed the run support, bouncing back from a rare bad outing to hold the Indians to three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. Sanchez remains in the AL lead in ERA at 2.68.

Indians' starter and loser Scott Kazmir (7-7) allowed four runs on seven hits, lasting five innings in spite of a 42 pitch second inning. The Tigers rocked the Tribe bullpen and pulled away late. Five Indians' relievers combined for four innings of work, allowing six runs on eight hits.

Infante led Detroit's 15 hit parade with his two big flies, but he had help. The Tigers made up for not having Cabrera in the lineup thanks to six players with two hits each. Austin Jackson had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Jose Iglesias also had a pair of hits, scoring twice and driving in a run on a squeeze play.

Outhit by the Tigers 15-9, the Indians got the majority of their offense from Carlos Santana with two hits, an inside-the-park home run and three runs driven in. Yan Gomes also homered for the Tribe.

The Tigers crush the Indians' spirit on a regular basis and tonight was no different. Another game, another soul-crusher. The Indians took an early lead, then blew it. Kazmir clawed his way through five innings to keep his team in the game, but his bullpen wasn't up to the task. The Indians scored twice in the eighth to pull to within one run late, only to see the Tigers explode for four of their own, all but ending the game.

In other words, it was just another painful, yet typical win for the Tigers over the Indians.

For the second straight start, it wasn't going to be an easy first inning for Anibal Sanchez. He threw seven straight balls to open the game, walking Michael Bourn in the process. Sanchez fell behind in the count 3-0 to Nick Swisher, before the Bro King flew out to center.

The lead off walk would come back to haunt Sanchez. Bourn would reach second on a ground ball, and score on Carlos Santana's two out, two strike ground single to center (an at bat in which Sanchez didn't get what appeared to be an obvious strike three call from home plate umpire Vic Carapazza).

Bottom half of the first, Scott Kazmir tried to give the Tigers the run back, but they could not capitalize.

Austin Jackson led off by drawing a walk. Getting a surpirse shot at the two spot in the batting order, Jose Iglesias lined a single to center. Tribe third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall turned Torii Hunter's high chopper into the first out, firing to second, Iglesias eliminated on the fielder's choice.

Runners on the corners for Prince Fielder, he hit the ball hard, but into the teeth of the shift. Asdrubal Cabrera was playing just to the left of second, and was in perfect position to handle Fielder's line drive. For some reason, Hunter committed a brain fart, taking off at the crack of the bat, not waiting to see if the ball got through. As such, he was easily doubled off first, ending the inning.

"That long of a run for me, I thought he (Jackson) had a better chance of surviving than I did." -Jim Leyland, when asked about Austin Jackson's near injury

After struggling through the first inning, Sanchez rebounded with a 1-2-3 second. Kazmir didn't rebound as well in the bottom half of the inning,

Victor Martinez raised his average to .300 by bouncing a lead off single to center. A patient Matt Tuiasosopo took Kazmir to a full count befor working a base on balls.

Pregame, Omar Infante was the fan base's consensus pick to move up in the batting order. Jim Leyland kept him in low in the order, hitting seventh. Having fire power at the bottom of the order paid off when Infante crushed Kazmir's 0-2 breaking ball, his line drive to left easily clearing the bullpen for a three run bomb. The Earl Weaver Special was Infatne's eighth home run of the season, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead (MLB.com video).

But the rally didn't end there.

One down, Ramon Santiago singled to center, Jackson following with a singled to right. Iglesias was caught looking for the second out, but Hunter, hitting third in place of Miguel Cabrera, hit a bouncer through the box and into center. Santiago was able to race around from second to score the fourth run of the inning.

By the time Kazmir ended the inning after 42 (!!!) pitches, the Tigers had sent nine to the plate, scoring four runs on a walk and five hits to take a 4-1 advantage.

Given a lead, Sanchez proceeded to shut down the Tribe. After Santana's first inning RBI single, Sanchez retired the next ten batters in order through the fourth. Kazmir had settled as well, but hit pitch count was rocketing to the stratosphere. Hr had set down seven straight after Hunter's RBI single in the second, but ended the fourth inning at 89 pitches.

Sanchez's out streak ended at ten, Cabrera leading off the fifth with a comebacker which ricocheted past Infante for an infield single. The inning went from "Sanchez's streak ended" to "Sanchez is in a jam" when Jason Giambi singled to right, Cabrera advancing to third. It appeared Sanchez would pitch out of trouble when Chisenhall popped up and Yan Gomes struck out. But Bourn yanked a ground ball past Fielder into right, Cabrera scoring to pull the Indians within two at 4-2.

Sanchez would keep the damage to a minimum. The King of the Bros struck out, stranding a pair to keep the Indians' rally from reaching a crooked number.

Two down in the sixth, Sanchez couldn't get a third strike past Brantley. The Tribe left fielder lined a letter high fastball into the right center field gap, rolling past Hunter and all the way to the scoreboard, aka triple territory. Brantley on third with a stand up triple, it was up to Cabrera to come through with a two out RBI. Sanchez induced Cabrera to pop up instead, Brayan Pena making an awkward looking catch to strand Brantley 90 feet away.

Bottom of six, Terry Francona went with the right-hander out of the pen, Bryan Shaw.  Kazimir's night was over after four runs, seven hits and 98 pitches over five innings. After the marathon 42 pitch second inning, it was a surprise Kazmir lasted as long as he did.

Unfortunately for the Indians, Shaw had the same trouble as Kazmir. Keeping Omar Infante in the park,

With one down, Andy Dirks pinch hit for Tuiasosopo, drawing a walk. Shaw then hung a breaking ball which Infante clubbed to left center, Brantley and the ball reaching the fence at the same time. Brantley got his glove on the fence-scraper, but couldn't bring it back.

Brantley_medium

Brantley remained on one side of the fence, the ball on the other. Infante's second home run of the night and ninth of the season increased the Tigers' lead to 6-2 (MLB.com video).

Shaw would go on and load the bases (Pena double, Jackson hit by pitch, Iglesias walk), but Hunter bounced out to third, stranding three. Regardless of the LOBsters, the Tigers had sent eight to the plate, tacking on an important two runs.

Sanchez was in full control, easily retiring the first two batters he faced in the seventh. Then Gomes quickly ended his night by yanking a hanging breaking ball over the bullpen on a line. Gomes' ninth home run kept the Indians within shouting distance, now down just 6-3.

Leyland pulled Sanchez after 6 2/3 innings and 106 pitches, having allowed three runs on six hits. Drew Smyly answered the bullpen call, quickly ending the inning on Bourn's soft comebacker.

"Everybody contributed, those are nice wins." -Leyland, calling it a team victory

Top of eight, Jose Veras took over for Smyly. Then with one out - DISASTER. Well, actually it more like near DISASTER.

Kipnis on second with a one out double, Santana hit a bomb to dead center. Reaching the 420' mark, Jackson made a leaping attempt, getting his glove on the ball. He was unable to hold on, and worse, crashed heavily into the fence. As the ball rolled away, Jackson was in no condition to chase it, being he was doubled over in a great deal pain.

Ajax_medium

By the time Dirks was able to run the ball down and get it back into the infield, Santana had crossed the plate, credited with a two run inside the park homer. Santana's 17th home run made it a nail-biter, the Tigers' now clinging to a 6-5 lead.

But there were bigger things to worry about, specifically one Austin Jackson.

While fans everywhere held their breath, trainer Kevin Rand checked Jackson over, Leyland hovering like a worried dad. After the pain and/or scare subsided, Jackson was allowed to remain in the game.

As the game resumed, Tigers' beat writer Lynn Henning tweeted something everyone expected.

No shocker there.

While the Jackson injury scare and Castellanos news had the fan base in an uproar, Veras was having trouble getting out of the inning. He allowed a two out single to Cabrera, finally ending a difficult 27 pitch appearance when Giambi flew out to Jackson, After all the drama, Jackson actually had the final two putouts of the inning.

"I jammed my shoulder into the wall a little bit, knocked the wind out of me. Once I caught my wind, I was alright." -Austin Jackson on the eighth inning injury scare

Everyone take a DEEP breath. Jackson is fine. He would soon confirm it.

Bottom of eight, the Tigers would face Tribe setup man Matt Albers. One down, Pena laced a single to center, then rumbled all the way to third on Santiago's second single of the night.

Strategy ensued.

As Jackson strode to the plate, freshly called up from Triple-A Hernan Perez pinch ran for Pena. Francona countered with a right-handed reliever, Cody Allen.

Showing no ill-effects from crashing into the wall, Jackson ripped the first pitch he saw into the left center field gap for a bases clearing triple. Jackson's revival pushed the Tigers lead back to three runs at 8-5.

Francona, sensing a squeeze was brewing with Iglesias at the plate, called for a pitchout. Nothing was brewing ... yet. On the third pitch of the at bat, the suicide squeeze was on! Allen fired an extremely high fastball, forcing Iglesias to reach above his head to get his bat on the ball.

Bunt_medium

Iglesias was lucky to just get his bat on the ball, let alone lay it down. So it wasn't the prettiest bunt, hard and right back at Allen. He quickly threw home, but Jackson slid past Gomes' sweep tag, sneaking his left hand onto the plate. A beautifully executed squeeze play gave the Tigers their four run lead back at 9-5.

The game a nail-biter no more, Fielder polished off the scoring with a long double to right center, Iglesias scoring all the way from first to make it 10-5 Tigers. I think it's safe to say the Tigers won the strategy battle with a KO.

Anticipating he would be protecting a one run lead, Joaquin Benoit was warmed up, ready to go. So he entered the game with a five run lead instead. Didn't make a difference. Benoit shut down the Tribe, finishing off another Tigers win over the Indians with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

GAME OVER.

Your final score is Tigers 10, Indians 5.

More importantly, the win means Tigers will enter September with an 8 1/2 game divisional lead. Even better, their magic number is into the teens, at a mere 19.

The Tigers reach the 80 mark on the season, raising their record to 80-56. They trail the Red Sox for the best overall record in the AL, .591 to .588. As mentioned, their lead in the division over the back on their heels Indians is at a season high 8 1/2 games. The Royals are double digit games out at 10 1/2. At one one point, it appeared there could be two playoff teams out of the Central. Now, a playoff play-in wild card is looking like a long shot, the Tribe five out and the Royals seven back.

Sunday's series and season finale between the Indians and Tigers has rookie right-hander Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.67 ERA) taking on Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.73 ERA). Salazar won his first career start, beating the Blue Jays by allowing just one run in six innings. He's gone 0-2 with a 4.29 ERA in four starts since, though the Tribe were shut out in two of those games. Verlander starts have changed from "Must see JV" to"Which JV will show up?" After a four start stretch where Verlander was 2-1 with a 2,48 ERA, he's 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in his last two appearances. Sunday afternoon's first pitch is set for 1:08 PM.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

One thing playoff runs need more of is tribute songs. The 1968 champs had "Go Get 'Em, Tigers." The 1984 series winners had "Bless You Boys." What does the 2013 Tigers have? Nothing, until now. Here's "The Miggy Mash."

Victor Martinez led off the bottom half of the second inning by bouncing a single to center, reaching a mark believed to be impossible two months ago.

That single was Martinez's only hit, ending his night at .298.

Meanwhile in Toledo, there's a Mud Hens storm brewing.

Nevin was 192-238 in three seasons at the Mud Hens helm. With the talent he was given, no one would have had a decent record. For whatever reason, and the Tigers aren't talking, they lowered the hammer on Nevin with two games left in the Triple-A season. Odd timing, to say the very least. Let the speculation begin!

After Tigers Nation was getting over the jolt of an Austin Jackson injury score, there came a minor league jolt. Danny Worth has been FREED! Oh yeah. One other thing. We'll get to see Nick Castellanos soon. Very soon.

Your Rod Allen quote of the game came when broadcast partner Mario Impemba said the Tigers lead the Central by 8 1/2 games.

"That's a lot."

Yes, it is.

From the baseball stats are funny department: Jose Veras was credited with a hold despite allowing two runs.

For a fitting ending, here's Jim Leyland moonwalking.

Tumblr_msf6rcprck1rrjtcto1_400_medium

THREE ROARS:

Omar Infante: Two home runs and five RBIs? Who does Infante think he is, Miguel Cabrera?

Jose Iglesias: There was his usual excellent defense, but Iglesias added two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Extra credit given for making a marvelous play on the squeeze bunt to just get it down.

Austin Jackson: Recovered from near injury to drive in two insurance runs with a eighth inning triple. Jackson's textbook slide allowed him to score on Iglesias' bunt.

Anibal Sanchez: After a rare brutal outing in a loss to the A's, Sanchez got back on track with tonight's win.

ONE HISS:

Jose Veras: In a rough eighth inning, Veras had trouble throwing strikes and nearly got Jackson killed.

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 1,020
Total commenters 42
Commenter list Alex Baker, Always a Tiger, BadCompany22, BigAl, C5wynn, DJ Screw, Designated for Assignment, Grand Rapids Howie, ITMarauder, JWurm, J_the_Man, Jacob30, JerseyTigerFan, KGW, Keith-Allen, MSUDersh, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, NCDee, NorthLeft12, SanDiegoMick, Scherzerblueeye, SpartanBoiler, SpartanHT, Thorpac, Tigerdog1, TomduhB, Verlanderful, Wing Nut, XFizzle, aarone46, bobrob2004, dishnet34, dominator039, dpsmallwood, frisbeepilot, josejose50, kland83, lesmanalim, mrsunshine, stevenyc, swish330, texastigerfan
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/31/4680376/game-136-indians-at-tigers-7-08-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/31/4681264/game-136-overflow

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 frisbeepilot 108
2 stevenyc 92
3 SpartanHT 82
4 J_the_Man 79
5 JWurm 77
6 Alex Baker 74
7 JerseyTigerFan 74
8 Scherzerblueeye 70
9 NCDee 41
10 Jacob30 34

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
6 NCDee Magic Number = 19!
6 NCDee Gotta dance!
6 stevenyc Magic Number
3 Always a Tiger Magic Number
2 MSUDersh Those are better
2 Alex Baker too much douche in one pic
2 J_the_Man It's about time
2 NCDee I hope not

GAME 135 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

The unstoppable  Victor Martinez drove in two runs with a pair of doubles, raising his average to .299. Martinez was named BYB PotG for his efforts, taking 42% of the vote.

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