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Tigers cruise by Indians after 5-run first inning

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CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 6: Starting pitcher Rick Porcello #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 6, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 6: Starting pitcher Rick Porcello #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 6, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Final - 9.6.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Detroit Tigers 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 10
Cleveland Indians 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

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BOX

KEY STATS

13 groundball outs -- Rick Porcello was on his game today. In the early innings, only Jason Kipnis -- fresh off the DL -- kept him from flirting with a no-hitter. As it was, he just forced most Indians he faced to put the ball harmlessly on the ground where it found a mitt for worry-free outs. Porcello needed just 75 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings.

7 hits: The 3-4-5 of the Tigers' lineup did their part. Delmon Young (2), Miguel Cabrera (3) and Victor Martinez (2) had multihit games. Ex-Indian Jhonny Peralta also had two hits and drove in a pair of runs.

KEY PLAY

Delmon Young walked. No, seriously. Delmon Young walked, and that turned out to be key. You see, there were two outs in the first when he walked. Then, to let Baroque tell the story, the Tigers RELEASED THE KRAKEN! Or if you prefer, they went on to string six consecutive hits together and score five runs in the inning.

KEY THOUGHTS

Detroit has pushed the Indians to 8.5 games out of first. Sounds like the same story we heard about the White Sox on Sunday, doesn't it? The Sox have actually got back on the winning road since leaving Detroit and used a double header on Monday to cut Detroit's lead to 8 games. (Currently, Chicago leads Minnesota, 3-0.) Watch out, the Sox are streaking! Er, yeah. Not really a big concern at this point in time. But a little separation between them and the Indians to make the standings simpler would be nice, no?

Oh yeah, the magic number is now 14. The Tigers are 18 games over .500 for the first time since July 27, 2007. Their last day leading by more than 8 games was Aug. 9, 2006. And oh, by the way, the Twins have been eliminated from division contention. Finally, they cannot come back to haunt us!

Obviously that first inning was key. And like I said, the walk by Young was. Carmona didn't have all that much of a problem getting through the first two batters of the first inning and it looked like good-Carmona may show up. But after Young walked and the Tigers started rapping out hits, the inning, and the game, quickly became a laugher. Porcello settled in and the Tigers fans relaxed and enjoyed it.

And let's face it, we deserve to enjoy some games in September for a change. For the longest time they didn't mean anything. Other times, we were paying way too close of attention to the standings as the Twins strung together too many wins. Seeing as the Tigers have made the playoffs just once since 1987, just taking a year to enjoy it and take it all in is pretty nice.

Back on track with the game, one of the nice moments was getting Alex Avila some rest. I mean, he still played most of the game. But he didn't play all nine innings. That's a pretty big change given the past couple of weeks.

Justin Verlander is on the mound tomorrow afternoon as the Tigers go for a second key sweep in a row. Remember, it's a 12:05 eastern game rather than a 1 p.m. start.

STANDINGS


AL Central Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Detroit 80 62 .563 0 Won 5
Chicago 70 69 .503 8.5 Won 2
Cleveland 70 69 .503 8.5 Lost 2
Kansas City 59 83 .415 21 Won 1
Minnesota 58 83 .411 21.5 Lost 4

(updated 9.6.2011 at 9:58 PM EDT)