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Cleveland Indians 5, Detroit Tigers 3: Offense rallies but bullpen can’t hold on

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Mike Napoli’s 2-run shot in the 7th for Cleveland spelled disaster for Detroit.

Daniel Norris throws a pitch vs the Indians Monday Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Daniel Norris’ injury problems came up again, and the Tigers’ bullpen just didn’t have enough innings in it on Monday to overcome. The Indians won, 5-3, on a two-run home run off the bat of Mike Napoli in the seventh inning.

It’s their 10th win in as many tries against Detroit in 2016. This is getting to be a bit silly.

Norris first showed some discomfort after the second inning and met with trainer Kevin Rand between innings. The two apparently decided everything was fine, so Norris took the mound in the bottom of the third. It wasn’t, and following a leadoff walk the young starter was pulled from the game. The team later announced Norris suffered a right oblique strain — the same injury as last August that kept him out a month — and that he would undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning.

In his stead, Dustin Molleken allowed a run in two innings — plus allowed the runner he inherited from Norris to score. It wasn’t a great showing, but all things considered it wasn’t a bad one for a major league debut following 12 years in the minors.

Alex Wilson bailed Molleken — and himself — out in the fifth with two timely strikeouts with the bases loaded, then threw a 1-2-3 sixth. Literally, it only took three pitches.

That gave the Tigers a chance to pull themselves back into the game after trailing 2-0 and then 3-1 against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar. Steven Moya hit a home run to right-center in the fifth and Nick Castellanos knocked a two-run shot to left in the sixth for the 3-3 tie.

Salazar’s day ended after 5-2/3 innings. He gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out six.

But Bruce Rondon couldn’t follow suit for the Tigers. Napoli hit a towering two-run home run to left after Rondon walked Francisco Lindor, and Cleveland’s bullpen held on from there.

Of note: Mark Lowe had a clean eighth inning for Detroit, striking out one. So really, the bullpen did its job, outside of Rondon.

Cody Allen recorded his 18th save of the season for the Indians.

Roars

Alex Wilson — Starlord got himself into some trouble, loading the bases with just one out in relief of Dustin Molleken. Then he struck the next two batters out, and made it through the sixth inning on just three pitches. The bullpen actually brings relief now.

Steven Moya — A solo home run to right-center and a single gave Moya his fifth multi-hit game of the season.

Nick Castellanos — DINGER! Castellanos tied the game in the sixth with a two-run shot to left field. He had a multi-hit game and also made a great diving defensive play in the eighth.

Hisses

Daniel Norris’ oblique — Seriously, stop that.

Bruce Rondon — Walked a batter and gave up a two-run home run to Mike Napoli to give the Indians a 5-3 lead in the seventh.

Stats and info
  • Daniel Norris left the game in the third inning with a right oblique strain. That’s the same injury as last August. He’ll have an MRI in the morning.
  • Jordan Zimmermann hit the DL earlier in the day.
  • Dustin Molleken made his major league debut after 12 years in the minors.
  • Steven Moya hit his fifth home run of the season (and his career) in the fifth inning.
  • Alex Wilson’s three-pitch sixth inning was the Tigers’ first three-pitch inning since Mike Maroth in September 2004. It was the fifth in Tigers’ history, per Baseball Almanac. It was the first one in MLB since June 29, 2015. (h/t Matt Mowery)
  • With 10 straight losses to the Indians to open the season, the Tigers are now just two away from tying their all-time low (12 against Cleveland in 1996, per Fox Sports Detroit).
Win Probability Added chart

Source: FanGraphs