Tribe starter Aaron Civale surrendered a double, two triples, and a home run in the first three innings, but for one night the Cleveland Indians’ lineup put the bat to the ball, slugging their way past the Detroit Tigers, 10-5, with a six-run fourth inning.
Franmil Reyes, sporting a .545/.583/.773 slash line over his last six games, continued his hot streak at the plate, blasting a moonshot to left center in the second inning to give the Tribe a 2-0 lead. His two-run homer boasted a season-best 112.8 mph exit velocity, with a 1.000 xBA.
But the early lead seemed to be for naught as Civale struggled on the mound. He need 26 pitches to get through a scoreless first inning, and it was clear then that his command was off. Civale seemed to be operating almost exclusively above the strike zone, and the Tigers fouled off or put in play anything even close to the zone. It was the same story in the second inning, as Jeimer Candelario delivered a leadoff triple and then scored on a sac fly. The wheels seemed to be coming off the wagon for Civale in the third thanks to a JaCoby Jones leadoff double followed by a Niko Goodrum two-run dong to put the Tigers ahead 3-2.
But then came the fourth inning. The Indians put two on with no outs and Franmil Reyes stepped to the plate to deliver a game-tying RBI single. The score did not stay knotted for long. Carlos Santana and Reyes each advanced on a wild pitch before Tyler Naquin grounded into a fielder’s choice to first. The fielder chose to try and catch Santana at home, but the Tribe’s first baseman can run as well as he walks and slid in safely for the go-ahead run. Domingo Santana proceeded to break it open with a three-run homer, extending the Indians’ lead to 7-3. Delino DeShields would score four batters later on a José Ramírez groundout to cap the six-run inning for the Tribe.
Civale settled in from there and seemed to have used the extra time spent in the dugout to find his breaking balls. His sinker and slider both looked much improved in the fourth and fifth innings, even notching a pair of strikeouts. Civale labored through the sixth inning, surrendering another run, but delivered a solid outing when all was said and done.
Tyler Naquin brought in a pair of runs on a triple in the seventh to get the Tribe to double digits. Santana saw his nine-game walk streak broken against the Cubs on Wednesday, but he may have started a new streak on Friday, drawing a pair of free passes.
The bullpen took care of business — with the exception of Dominic Leone, who gave up a solo shot to Cameron Maybin in the ninth — in the final three frames. James Karinchak relieved Civale to start the seventh and continues to be an absolute delight to watch. The highlight of the night for him was freezing up Miguel Cabrera on a 2-2 curveball to end the inning.
This was the Indians’ 18th consecutive victory over the Tigers dating back to last season.