Tigers hang on to edge IndiansAug 22, 2011 - 1:22 AM
Unfortunately for Cleveland, that's where Austin Jackson plays.
The Detroit outfielder caught LaPorta's fly ball before making a strong throw home to nail Kosuke Fukudome at the plate, securing an 8-7 victory and series sweep for the AL Central-leading Tigers.
"It was a line drive hit at me, but it wasn't hit that hard," Jackson said. "I just really tried to get behind it and in that situation you have to try to make it there in there in the air. It just happened at the right time and it worked out."
Detroit scored all eight of its runs in the first four innings against Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1), including seven in the third. Delmon Young hit a three-run homer and Victor Martinez added a two-run shot during the big inning.
But then the Tigers had to hold on as the Indians rallied. Joaquin Benoit stranded runners in scoring position in the eighth, and Jose Valverde worked the nail-biting ninth for his 37th save.
The three-game sweep widened Detroit's divisional lead over Cleveland to 4 1/2 games -- its largest of the season -- heading into a seven-game road trip to Tampa and Minnesota.
The third inning made it seem like the Tigers would head out with a lopsided victory.
They put their first four hitters on base, with RBI singles from Ramon Santiago and Jackson providing a 2-0 edge. Jimenez retired the next batter, but then hung a 3-2 breaking ball over the plate to Young, who hammered it to left-center field.
After Jimenez walked Miguel Cabrera, he threw a flat fastball to Martinez, who pulled it down the right field line for his eighth homer of the season. Suddenly, the Tigers held a 7-0 lead.
But Cleveland rallied in the next inning against Tigers starter Rick Porcello. Carlos Santana blasted a high fastball for a one-out solo shot, and three consecutive singles by Jason Donald, Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson provided another run.
Michael Brantley's double to the wall in right-center field cleared the bases and chased Porcello, who gave up seven hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings. Duane Below's wild pitch later in the inning allowed Brantley to score, cutting the gap even more.
Jackson used his speed to score the eventual decisive run in the fourth. After leading off with a single, he stole second before coming home on Young's base hit to center.
Jimenez was pulled after that, but his teammates nearly bailed him out.
"In the third inning, they did a really good job," Jimenez said. "They came up hacking, looking for the perfect pitch to hit and they hit it."
Hannahan plated a run with a groundout in the fifth, and designated hitter Travis Hafner slapped an RBI single in the sixth. However, Hafner rounded first base and appeared to suffer a left leg injury halfway toward second.
Cleveland had another scoring chance in the eighth. Shin-Soo Choo started the rally with a one-out single off Phil Coke (2-8), who threw a scoreless seventh but was replaced by Benoit after giving up the hit.
A walk by Asdrubal Cabrera, a fielder's choice grounder by pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall and a steal by pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera put runners at second and third. But Benoit fanned Santana on a 96 mph fastball to end the threat.
Valverde set up the Indians' rally in the ninth by walking Fukudome and hitting Donald with a pitch. Hannahan's sacrifice bunt preceded the final play, which the Tigers executed perfectly.
LaPorta's fly ball wasn't all that deep -- Jackson had to run in to catch it. But he still had the throw to make and unleashed a strong one to catcher Alex Avila, who was able to set up in front of the plate to block Fukudome, holding on complete the double play.
"This was a great win not because of the pennant race, but because it could have been a disastrous game," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We had to turn the page on that, but we did hold on and win it."
Jimenez gave up a season high in runs and a career high in earned runs. He allowed nine hits and walked three in 3 1/3 innings...Tigers manager Jim Leyland was ejected in the sixth inning after arguing Wilson Betemit's being called out on a tag play at third base...Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-2 to put a stop to his 17-game hitting streak.
- CLEVELAND: 7
Aug 21 4:54 PM
- Travis Hafner singled to right scoring Asdrubal Cabrera. On the play, Hafner was tagged out going back to first, right to short to first. None on with two outs and Carlos Santana due up.
Indians 7, Tigers 8 Top 6, 2 OutsAug 21 3:34 PM
- Jack Hannahan grounded out short to first scoring Carlos Santana. Runner on second with two outs and Lou Marson due up.
Indians 6, Tigers 8 Top 5, 2 OutsAug 21 3:05 PM
- Delmon Young singled to center scoring Austin Jackson. Runner on first with one out and Miguel Cabrera due up.
Indians 5, Tigers 8 Bot 4, 1 OutAug 21 2:45 PM
- Duane Below's wild pitch scored Michael Brantley. Shin-Soo Choo advances to second on a wild pitch. Runner on second with two outs and Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate.
Indians 5, Tigers 7 Top 4, 2 OutsAug 21 2:36 PM
- Michael Brantley doubled to right center scoring Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson. Runner on second with two outs and Shin-Soo Choo due up.
Indians 4, Tigers 7 Top 4, 2 OutsAug 21 2:29 PM
- Lou Marson singled to right scoring Jason Donald. On the play, Jack Hannahan advances to second. Runners on first and second with two outs and Michael Brantley due up.
Indians 2, Tigers 7 Top 4, 2 OutsAug 21 2:26 PM
- Carlos Santana one-out, solo Home Run (19) to right. Kosuke Fukudome due up.
Indians 1, Tigers 7 Top 4, 1 OutAug 21 2:20 PM
- Victor Martinez one-out, two-run Home Run (8) to right scored Miguel Cabrera. Alex Avila due up.
Indians 0, Tigers 7 Bot 3, 1 OutAug 21 2:07 PM
- Delmon Young one-out, three-run Home Run (6) to left center scored Ramon Santiago and Austin Jackson. Miguel Cabrera due up.
Indians 0, Tigers 5 Bot 3, 1 OutAug 21 2:03 PM
- Austin Jackson singled to left scoring Wilson Betemit. On the play, Ramon Santiago advances to second. Runners on first and second with none out and Brennan Boesch due up.
Indians 0, Tigers 2 Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 21 1:58 PM
- Ramon Santiago singled to left scoring Jhonny Peralta. On the play, Wilson Betemit advances to third. Runners on first and third with none out and Austin Jackson due up.
Indians 0, Tigers 1 Bot 3, 0 OutsAug 21 1:57 PM
- CLEVELAND: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Aug 21 1:07 PM
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