DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers finally had a lead against the Cleveland Indians this year ... and then they lost it. Justin Verlander suffered a catastrophic start, one the offense again couldn’t climb out of, and the Tigers lost 9-3 to the Indians for their second sweep loss at home this season.
Early on, Verlander had to work to get through the first two innings. He had no command from the get-go and by the fourth had to fight his way out of a two-run spot. The fifth was a nightmare, though, and the Indians didn’t waste a moment. They jumped on every pitch that Verlander was serving up, and it wasn’t a pretty outcome.
By the conclusion of the fifth, Verlander had given up four home runs — to include back-to-back blasts to start the inning — and failed to get the last out. It was, arguably, the worst start of his career. The offense had kept the game close through four, putting up runs in the third and fourth to get the lead and then tie it, but it wouldn’t last.
Josh Tomlin has been prone to the long ball — evidenced by the dingers golfed out by Mike Aviles and two by Victor Martinez — but otherwise the Tigers had little to show for their efforts. Tomlin struck out only three batters, but he went eight strong and had little trouble going through a typically potent Tigers offense.
Victor Martinez: Hit two home runs against Josh Tomlin — one in the fourth to right and one in the sixth to left.
Mike Aviles: Homered in the third to give the Tigers their first lead of the season against the Indians. Unfortunately it wouldn’t last because of Verlander.
Justin Verlander: By Game Score, it was the worst start of his career. He gave up four homers in the fifth alone. It was ugly.
Tigers offense: V-Mart and Aviles got to Tomlin, but the rest of the lineup had just three hits and a walk, and none were for extra-base hits.
STATS AND INFO:
- This is just the second time in Verlander's career that he's given up four homers in a game. His last was on Sept. 18, 2007 vs. the Indians.
- Verlander’s four homers in the fifth marked the first time in his MLB career that he’s given up that many in the same frame.
- The last time Verlander gave up eight-or-more runs in a start was May 25, 2014 against the Rangers when he allowed nine and had a Game Score of 14. It was just the eighth time he's given up at least that many in a start.
- Verlander’s Game Score of three marks the lowest he’s ever received in any major league start. The next-lowest score was the above Rangers game.
- Victor Martinez’s two home runs was the ninth multi-homer game of his career, and the second this year. His last was on June 16 versus the Royals.
- The Tigers have now been swept by the Indians in all three series this year. Two were at home, and the only time the Tigers led in 2016 was when Aviles homered in the third. That lasted all of a half-inning.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: