After being swept by the Cleveland Indians last month in Indians' own back yard, the Tigers returned the favor and swept the Indians for a 10-4 win off the bat of Miguel Cabrera as the Tigers offense came alive in the fifth inning. The Tigers have increased their renewed lead of the AL Central Division to 2 1/2 games and now retain a four-game winning streak.
Max Scherzer tallied a high pitch count as a result of a few Indians players who gave Scherzer a good battle, but Scherzer remained dominant through six innings and struck eight out, allowing just one run and six hits in that time. Every pitch was working well for Scherzer and had a late breaking action to it, something that had been missing in his last start. Scherzer's quality start on Sunday gave the Tigers their fifth consecutive quality start in as many days, which gave everyone a much needed sigh of relief.
"I did a good job of attacking the zone and forcing their hand," Scherzer said after the game. "They're a great team, fighting and making me foul off pitches. I was able to collect some strikeouts when I needed them and threw the ball with all four pitches. We're just playing better baseball. Everybody. Hitters, pitchers, a little bit of everybody."
A long top of the fifth inning did no harm for Scherzer while the Tigers offense beat up on the Indians. Scherzer said he is used to it after last year and threw in the tunnel until the bottom of the fifth came around. In the sixth inning Scherzer was hit on the right knee by a come-backer off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand came out to check on Scherzer, but he walked it off and stayed in the game to retire the final batter of the inning.
"Yeah that one hurt," Scherzer said. "I took it right off the side of the knee. It's gonna hurt today but I got a patch on it and it heals up the next day. Alex (Avila) takes these all the time. He said 'all you've got to do is throw a patch on and the next day you feel great.' I guess they've got some miracle cure and you feel good the next day."
Blaine Hardy made his fourth appearance for the Tigers and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Patrick McCoy and Chad Smith made their MLB debuts and struck out a combined three batters, with McCoy pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Smith retired the first two batters he faced but allowed three runs on four hits, which cut the Tigers lead by three before retiring the final batter.
The Tigers offense followed the lead of Miguel Cabrera and hosted a slugging festival in the fifth inning. Prior to their four-game streak, the Tigers had scored a total of 13 runs in three games and they nearly matched that total during Sunday's game alone.
They wracked up a total of 12 hits and J.D. Martinez attributes part of the team's success with making solid contact to the pitching staff being on track once more. "I think it's a big part," Martinez said. "It's a huge part anytime you have your starting pitchers go seven innings and throw shutouts, zeroes across the board, you're going to have a chance to win."
Miguel Cabrera: Produced each of the Tigers' first three runs of the afternoon by knocking in his 13th home run of the season in the first inning, then driving Ian Kinsler home twice, once in the second and later in the fifth inning.
Seeing Doubles: The Tigers' offense backed Scherzer up in a big way and knocked the Indians' around, particularly in the fifth inning where they put up seven runs against the Tribe, five of which scored before a single out was recorded. Victor Martinez reached on a fielding error by Michael Bourn and J.D. Martinez nailed a two-run RBI double. Nick Castellanos then hit a two-run RBI double, which made it 7-0 in favor of the Tigers. Alex Avila gave the Tigers their fifth double of the day in the sixth inning, an RBI, which plated Castellanos for the 10th run of the day.
JD Mart says "you will pay for those errors"! How about those Martinez boys!— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) June 22, 2014
Ian Kinsler: Went 3-4 with a leadoff double in the third, and both a leadoff single and an RBI single in the fifth, driving the Tigers' ninth run of the game, which was the seventh of the inning.
Max Scherzer: Gave the Tigers their fifth straight quality start after giving up 10 runs on his last outing, and shut out the Indians for five innings. The only run Scherzer gave up was an RBI double in the fifth after a delayed review which reversed what was initially an inning-ending double play. In six innings of work Scherzer allowed six hits and struck out eight while walking two.
Indians' 5th inning challenge: FOX Sports Detroit had gone to a commercial break, the Tigers had left the field and were in the dugout preparing to take the field for the sixth inning before Indians manager Terry Francona decided to challenge the inning-ending double play. The call was overturned during the 'break' and Michael Brantley laced an RBI double to right field, which put the Indians on the board to a 9-1 deficit.
Austin Jackson: Does not dive, allowing base hits that would have otherwise resulted in an out. Jackson has proven he can dive, but it's quite rare. (MLB.com video)
Chad Smith: Came in with a comfortable nine-run lead and struck out the first batter he faced. But he gave up back-to-back-to-back singles and a double, allowing three runs on four hits. But he would redeem himself when he got Kipnis to strike out on a foul tip to end the game, completing the sweep of the Indians.
Revenge pic.twitter.com/vo0ayO5baT— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) June 22, 2014
Home plate umpire Gabe Morales' strike zone was just a bit off on Sunday. The Tigers weren't the only ones on the wrong side of the zone as batters on both teams disagreed with the pitches Morales was calling.
Today, on "Things That Are Not A Strike" .... pic.twitter.com/m3xyjzSsVi— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) June 22, 2014
Sunday was Ian Kinsler's 32nd birthday, so naturally he tattooed the ball all over the Indians' baseball field.
Kinsler with an RBI single - someone make sure to get him an Applebee's gift card or something for his birthday today.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) June 22, 2014
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera hit his 378th career home run on Sunday, passing Norm Cash and Jeff Kent and tying Matt Williams for 68th most all-time. Cabrera also put up his 599th career multi-hit game with his home run in the first, RBI single in the third and RBI single in the fifth.
- J.D. Martinez hit a two-RBI double in the fifth inning, which gave him a career-long 12-game hitting streak, which also ranks as the longest active hitting streak in the AL.
- Ian Kinsler had his eighth three-hit game of the season when he knocked in an RBI single in the fifth, which is tied for second most in the AL. After hitting for a .180 average through the first two weeks of June, Kinsler is now slashing .429/.467/.750 in his last seven games with 12 hits, three doubles, four RBI, two home runs and two walks.
- Left-handed pitcher Patrick McCoy made his MLB debut for the Tigers in the eighth inning and struck out the first batter he faced. A two-out base hit did no damage when McCoy got Lonnie Chisenhall to groundout to first base.
- Since Scherzer's last outing on June 17 (when the Tigers' pitching staff had a 7.36 ERA in 29 1/3 innings, 24 earned runs, 11 walks and had struck out 19 batters), the Tigers rotation has a 1.36 ERA in 33 innings. They have allowed just five earned runs, five walks, and two home runs and have struck out a combined 25 batters.
- Right-handed pitcher Chad Smith also made his MLB debut when he came out to close the ninth inning for the Tigers. Sunday was the first time the Tigers had two or more pitchers make their MLB debut since April 2, 2003 when Jeremy Bonderman, Wil Ledezma, Matt Roney and Chris Spurling made theirs.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
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