The Detroit Tigers’ woes at Progressive Field continued on Friday night as they built an early lead and then watched it all slip away.
The Indians jumped on Tigers’ starter Matthew Boyd early, with Carlos Santana launching a two-run home run to right-center field to open the night’s scoring. The Tigers wouldn’t stay down for long, with a second inning Brandon Dixon home run putting them on the board. They would further jump on Indians’ starter Trevor Bauer for four more runs, eventually knocking him out of the game in the fifth inning after he allowed the first four runners to reach base.
The Indians would rally back against Boyd, with a Tyler Naquin solo home run in the fifth inning and a two-run sixth inning bringing the score to a 5-5 tie. In the eighth, Joe Jimenez would then surrender what looked like a go-ahead, two-run home run to Jason Kipnis, only to have it reverted to an RBI triple after review, giving the Indians a 6-5 advantage. Kipnis would come home to score on a sacrifice fly by Jake Bauers, restoring Cleveland’s 7-5 lead for Brad Hand.
The Tigers would threaten Hand’s perfect save percentage, with back-to-back knocks from JaCoby Jones and Christin Stewart trimming it to a 7-6 deficit. But momentum would swing back to the Indians, as a Naquin diving catch on a sinking liner off the bat of Nick Castellanos caught Stewart too far off first base. Naquin gunned to first to double off Stewart. That snuffed the threat and Miguel Cabrera flew out softly to center to end the game.
Boyd with the blues
After two stronger outings against the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, Boyd didn’t have his best stuff on Friday night. While he did manage to give the Tigers six innings, he surrendered five runs (all earned) on seven hits, including two home runs. Amid reports of interest in Boyd on the trade market, this outing does little to aid his trade value, should the Tigers actively explore the idea of moving him before the July 31st deadline.
LOB looms large
While the Tigers had their chances to truly break things open, the Indians bullpen was able to keep them at bay. Despite hanging runs on Indians pitching, they would strand seven runners on the basepaths, five of them in scoring position. Most notably, after scoring two runs as the first five batters would reach base in the fifth inning, the Tigers would subsequently leave the bases loaded. The Indians would ultimately tie the game an inning later.
Big Dixon energy
With his second inning solo shot, Dixon has moved himself into a tie for the team lead with eight home runs. Other notable performers at the plate included Nicholas Castellanos (2-4, RBI double), Christin Stewart (2-4, solo HR), Niko Goodrum (RBI double), Gordon Beckham (RBI double), and JaCoby Jones (2-4, BB).
The Tigers continue their weekend tangle with the Tribe tomorrow afternoon. Spencer Turnbull will take the ball for Detroit, while Aaron Civale (Cleveland’s 19th overall prospect) is set to make his MLB debut, starting in place of the injured Mike Clevinger. First pitch is slated for 4:10 p.m. at Progressive Field and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.
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