The Tigers started their first road series of the season in Cleveland and now hold a 4-0 record. Backed by hot bats and a properly working bullpen, the Tigers won 8-4 against the Indians. Alfredo Simon started the game strong but quickly fell off in the sixth inning and Al Alburquerque came on to save the inning, and the lead. Nick Castellanos also nailed an opposite field home run that gave the Tigers their first comfortable lead of the game.
Simon went five strong innings, giving up just two hits in that time. He battled consistency as the game wore on, however, and by the time the sixth inning got underway, his command disappeared. The Indians nailed him for five straight hits with just one out and he exited with two aboard. Alburquerque faced Yan Gomes with runners on the corners and got him to ground into an inning-ending double play on the seventh pitch.
The Tigers offense is red-hot right now. While most of the hits against the Indians weren't hard-hit, the offense ate away at Cleveland pitching like Piranhas until they built a solid lead. Despite it becoming a 5-3 game at one point, the Tigers took a four-run lead right back. Seven Tigers finished with multiple hits, and four of those had a three-hit day.
The bullpen was not a disaster. Blaine Hardy allowed one hit, one run, and a walk in the eighth during his two innings of work, but that was all the bullpen gave up by way of runs. Along with Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain, and Joakim Soria, the Tigers kept the Indians well at bay, increasing their perfect record to start the season. Chamberlain allowed two hits and struck out two, and Soria came on to get the last out, striking out the final batter and earning the save.
Nick Castellanos: A two-run opposite-field shot to right field gave the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Castellanos got off to a slow start, but he was hot Friday. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI, a walk, and did not strike out. Defensively he was stellar, including a nice snag made on a sharp liner in the fifth inning. He would not have made that play last year by any stretch of the imagination. He also started the 5-4-3 inning-ending double play in the sixth inning.
Three-for-five: Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Yoenis Cespedes all finished 3-for-5 for the day. Cabrera had an RBI and a stole third base (!). Martinez ended his day with mirrored stats. Cespedes scored two runs, and while it didn't go down as a hit, he laid down a nice bunt that was nearly a single but it went foul at the last minute.
Jose Iglesias: Finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, also giving the Tigers his usual sparkling defense.
Al Alburquerque: Induced the inning-ending double play on the seventh pitch with two on in the sixth inning, getting Simon out of trouble and keeping the Tigers on top.
Alfredo Simon: Through five innings, Simon allowed just two hits before he gave up five consecutive hits and three earned runs in the sixth. He exited with one out in the sixth and runners on the corners. As the game wore on Simon began falling behind in the count, and the eephus pitch he started to use with more frequency wasn't fooling anyone.
J.D. Martinez: It's rare that Martinez finishes without a hit, particularly at Progressive Field, but it happened Friday afternoon. He went 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera's multiple hits Friday afternoon gave him 388 multi-hit games with the Tigers, tied with Willie Horton for 12th most in team history.
- The Tigers have four home runs so far this season, all of which have been hit to the opposite field. Of the 26 runs driven in through four games, just seven have come around to score via the home run. They have outscored their opponents 30-5 during that time frame.
- The Tigers went 32 1/3 innings before allowing an earned run to start the season. The three consecutive games without an earned run allowed by Tigers pitching ties the modern mark for the longest streak, set by the Cardinals on April 9-13, 1963.
- The Tigers have a triple in each of the first four games of the season for the first time since at least 1914.
- The Tigers have a 4-0 record to start the season for the third time in the last four years (2012, 2014 and 2015).
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: