DETROIT — The Tigers didn’t need to wait until September to get their fourth win of the season against the Indians this time. Backed by a two-run home run from Miguel Cabrera and a seven-inning start from Justin Verlander, the Tigers won 5-2 over the Indians to take the first two of the four-game series.
It wasn’t a particularly pleasant night of work for Verlander, but despite the four walks and chilly weather, he kept the Indians to two runs and struck out five batters in seven innings of work. Of those four walks, only one came around to score on an RBI triple in the sixth inning off of Lonnie Chisenhall, and the offense gave Verlander enough support to work with.
Even without his best stuff, Verlander dispatched the Indians well enough. He started the seventh on 104 pitches and despite a mound visit from manager Brad Ausmus got three quick outs to finish the night at 118 pitches. The biggest backup, though, came by way of Miguel Cabrera. Fresh off the 10-day disabled list, the Tigers first baseman smacked homer No. 4 to left just over the fence.
The offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but Victor Martinez got the party started with an RBI single in the first. Andrew Romine followed it up with an RBI double, and Alex Avila capped the night off with an RBI single for the final score. But no game was complete without ninth-inning dramatics from Francisco Rodriguez, who gave up a two-out double and walked a batter in the ninth, stranding the tying run at the plate.
Miguel Cabrera: In his first game off the disabled list, Cabrera launched a two-run home run to left in the third inning, after he nearly went yard in the first on a long flyout to right.
Justin Verlander: Limited the damage on a cold May night where the temperatures barely topped 45 degrees. Gave up two runs on four hits, striking out five. He also walked four, but two of those were with two outs and he managed to put in seven solid innings.
Justin Wilson: Did his job well, striking out two (both looking) batters and working around a two-out scalded infield single to Nicholas Castellanos (who had no chance at making a play anyway).
Alex Avila: Had a two-hit game, scoring the second run and driving in the last of the night.
Justin Upton and Tyler Collins: Between the two, they struck out six times. Upton walked and stole a base, scoring on Alex Avila’s RBI single but otherwise was silent. Collins had a rough defensive night in center field.
STREAKS AND INFO:
- Miguel Cabrera’s home run was his fourth of the season, and the 450th of his major league career.
- Cabrera's 450th home run moved him past Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero for 38th all-time. Next up: Carl Yastrzemski, who finished with 452 career home runs.
- The Tigers’ win over the Indians marked their fourth win of the season, matching 2016’s total wins against Cleveland. Detroit hadn’t gotten their fourth and final win against the Indians until Sept. 28.