DETROIT: It’s safe to say the Tigers haven’t just lost their mastery over the Indians.
The script has been flipped.
The Indians beat the Tigers 9-3 and bludgeoned Justin Verlander on Sunday, hitting four home runs off him in one inning. It was the Indians’ ninth consecutive win and it improved their record against the Tigers the season to 9-0 overall and 6-0 at Comerica Park. In those nine games, the Indians have outscored the Tigers 60-20.
All of that against the same club that has played a major role in the Indians falling short of their own expectations the last couple seasons, with names like Miguel Cabrera and Verlander among the biggest nemeses for Cleveland baseball.
“Yeah, in the past we’ve had such a hard time down the stretch just getting anything going against them at all,” said Lonnie Chisenhall, who went 4-for-4 with a home run, a triple and three RBI. “To be in the situation we’re in right now, it’s a little bit of uncharted territory. But we’re just winning games, so it’s definitely going in the right direction.”
Verlander had only given up four home runs in a game once in his career — against the Indians in 2007. On Sunday, the Indians turned a 2-2 tie into an 8-2 game with a six-run fifth that included four home runs.
Juan Uribe and Tyler Naquin started the rally with back-to-back home runs to open the inning. It was the second time in a week the Indians have hit back-to-back home runs.
Later, with Francisco Lindor on first after a single, Mike Napoli lined a two-run shot, his 16th home run of the season, to left field. Jose Ramirez followed with a single, and Chisenhall clubbed another two-run home run, this one to right field.
It was the third time in franchise history the Indians hit four home runs in a single inning (the others on July 31, 1963 and July 16, 2004).
It was also nearly the fourth complete game for an Indians starting pitcher in less than a week. After Carlos Carrasco went the distance on Saturday and Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer each tossed complete games against Tampa Bay, Josh Tomlin on Sunday threw eight innings, allowed three runs on six hits and a walk and struck out three.
All three Tigers runs came on solo home runs by former Indians, one by Mike Aviles and two by Victor Martinez.
“When you get a lead, [Tomlin] knows what to do with it,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s around the plate so much, he might give up a solo, but he stays off the barrel for the most part. He’s in and out, throws strikes. It’s a good guy to have any day, but especially when you get a lead like that.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ