Game 81 of the 2021 season is in the books for the Detroit Tigers, and they finished the first half of the season on a high note with a rare sweep of a double header in Cleveland, beating the Indians, 7- 1. Wily Peralta allowed just an unearned run in five innings, pacing the Tigers to victory.
After a 2-1/2 hour rain delay before the start of the double header, the second game finally got underway at 10:15 p.m. ET. Wily Peralta (0-1, 5.00 ERA) took the hill for Detroit against Cleveland’s Logan Allen (1-4, 9.19 ERA).
Robbie Grossman drew a lead off walk, but was erased on a double play hit by Jonathan Schoop. Jeimer Candelario grounded out to end the first inning for the Tigers. Peralta set down the Tribe in order in the bottom half of the inning to return the favor.
Miguel Cabrera singled to right field to lead off the second frame with his fifth hit of the series, and third of the day. After Daz Cameron flew out to center field, Eric Haase walked to put two men on with one out. Cabrera advanced to third on a ball in the dirt to put runners at the corners and a sacrifice fly by Zack Short scored him to make it 1- 0 Tigers. A passed ball allowed Haase to take second and Willi Castro doubled down the right field line to make it 2- 0.
Derek Hill was called up as the 27th man for the double header, and he got the start in center field for Detroit in game two. Since he was just optioned to Toledo after being activated from the injured list, he has to be send back down after the game. He struck out on a check swing to end the second inning with the Tigers leading, 2- 0.
The Indians got on the board in the second when Harold Ramirez reached on an error by Short at short that Schoop couldn’t scoop, and Bradley Zimmer tripled to deep center field with two outs to make it 2- 1 Detroit. Peralta struck out Rene Rivera, stranding the potential tying run at third.
Allen retired the Tigers in order in the top of the third and Peralta worked around a single in the bottom half of the inning. After Allen retired the first two Tigers in the fourth, Eric Haase drilled a 3- 0 fastball 442 feet into the left field stands against his former team to put the Tigers up 3-1 and Allen’s evening was over. The blast was the farthest and the hardest hit ball of Haase’s career.
Final line for Logan Allen: 3-2/3 innings, 3 runs, 2 earned, 3 hits, 2 BB, 3 K’s.
Nick Sandlin came on in relief, giving up a single to Short and walks to Willi Castro and Hill to load the bases. Grossman popped out to second base to end the threat.
Peralta retired the first two batters in the fourth, then gave up a single to Ernie Clement and hit Zimmer with a pitch and struck out Rivera to strand the tying runs. Still 3- 1 for Detroit..
Nick Wittgren took the mound for the Tribe in the fifth inning. Schoop led off with an infield single up the middle, then Candelario lined out to third with Schoop being doubled off first base. Cabrera then hit his 494th career home run just over the fence in right field to put the Tigers up 4- 1. Cameron then grounded out to end the inning.
Peralta retired the Indians in order in the fifth inning, striking out Adam Rosario to cap off his evening. By this point in the game, it looked like all twelve fans left in the stands were wearing Detroit caps.
Final line for Wily Peralta: 5.0 innings, 1 run, 0 ER, 3 hits, 0 BB, 5 K’s. ERA 3.21 for the season.
Emanuel Clase took the mound for the Tribe in the sixth. Eric Haase reached on an error by third baseman Yu Chang, and Short followed with a double high off the left field wall. With runners on second and third, no outs, Willi Castro was caught looking on a 100 mph heater before Hill singled up the middle on a 101 mph fastball to drive in two more runs, making it 6- 1 for Detroit.
Hill then stole second base, his fourth of the season. Grossman grounded out to the pitcher moving Hill to third with two outs and Schoop hit a bloop single to right field to make it 7- 1 Tigers.
Clase threw 20 pitches, 16 of them 100 mph or more, but the Tigers plated three runs against him.
Jose Cisnero came on in relief of Peralta in the bottom of the sixth inning. He struck out Rosario and Bobby Bradley, then got Ramirez to fly to right field, but Hill dropped it at the wall, leaving a runner on second. Cisnero then got Clement on a come backer to end the inning.
James Karinchak took over for Cleveland in the seventh inning. Cabrera greeted him with a smash that knocked him down, but he got up and made the play, uninjured. Cameron walked, Haase flied out to right field, and Short struck out to end the inning.
Joe Jimenez came on in the seventh inning to close out the game for Detroit. He retired the side in order, giving the Tigers a rare series win and a sweep of the double header in Cleveland to end the first half of the season on a high note.
In 16 appearances since May 24, Jimenez has an ERA of 2.70 with 13 K’s in 13-1/3 innings.
The Tigers have the day off on Thursday as they head home for a Holiday weekend series against the division leading White Sox. They find themselves in third place, 12 games behind Chicago at the mid point of the season. The three rookies- Skubal, Mize, and Manning figure to get the starts against the Sox.
After that, the Tigers’ next 25 games, through August 1st, are all against the Twins, Rangers, Royals, and Orioles. Detroit has a better record than all of them. Just sayin.....