Game 96: Indians 6, Tigers 2
Tribe improves to 49-47
The Indians took the first game of today doubleheader in Detroit, winning 6-2 after getting another great start from Corey Kluber, and offense that once again took a little while to arrive, but did well once it did.
Kluber gave up a run in the 5th inning after Jason Kipnis couldn't quite make a tough play to end the inning. After that run scored though, Kluber retired the next ten batters he faced, and went out for the 9th inning to try and get a complete game. He gave up a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera (who has killed Kluber the last couple years). A pair of groundouts moved Cabrera over to third and then in to score, but also meant the game was only one out from ending. Kluber allowed another double, and at that point he was up to 114 pitches. Bryan Shaw came in and struck the last man out.
Kluber's line: 8.2 innings, 2 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, with 10 strikeouts
His ERA is down to 2.95 and his strikeout total is up to 152, fifth most in all of MLB at the moment. He's having the best season by an Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee's Cy Young-winning 2008.
As I said at the top, the offense took a while to get anything going. Detroit had starting pitcher Drew Verhagen making his MLB debut. In mentioned in the game thread that he's not a strikeout guy, so if course he went out and made a fool of me by striking out two Indians in the 1st, and then another two in the 2nd. Two of the three base runners the Tribe had in the first four innings were thrown out on the bases.
In the 5th though, with everyone having gotten their first look at the rookie, things picked up. Lonnie Chisenhall walked and was doubled in by Nick Swisher; Yan Gomes, David Murphy, and Jason Kipnis each singled that inning too, making it 3-0. Kipnis knocked in another run in the 7th, and after Gomes led off the 9th with a double, the Tribe scored another pair of runs on singles by Murphy and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Winning the first two games of this series in Detroit is a huge boost, as it means the Tribe can't do any worse than a split. They're now only 5.5 games behind the Tigers, and half a game in front of Kansas City for second place. The four-run win also gives the Indians a positive run differential, which is something they haven't had for a while.
The doubleheader picks back up tonight at 7:08 ET. It will be a much tougher road to hoe, with Max Scherzer on the mound for Detroit, and Kluber on the bench. Zach McAllister will do his best to get the Tribe another win.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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