for this game

Indians hit four homers, cruise by Tigers

Sep 19, 2007 - 3:44 AM By Todd Krepop PA Sportsticker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Even Justin Verlander wasn't enough to slow the Cleveland Indians march towards their seventh American League Central Division title.

Cleveland banged out four home runs off of the Detroit Tigers' ace on their way to a 7-4 victory on Monday night.

The win reduced the Indians magic number to five and increased their lead to 6 1/2 games over Detroit.

"We knew that this was important series," Indians catcher Victor Martinez said. "We never take anything for granted. We are going to go out there and play hard. At the end you see the results."

Cleveland (89-62), which last won the Central in 2001, also moved one-half game behind the Boston Red Sox (90-62) for the best record in the American League.

Meanwhile Detroit's chances off defending their American League championship have all but vanished. The Tigers (83-69) now find themselves 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees (87-64) for the wild card with only 10 games remaining. New York crushed Baltimore, 12-0 on Tuesday.

"Anybody can do the math," Tigers closer Todd Jones said. "When you're chasing thoroughbred teams, you have very little room for error. The problem is we got behind. It's tough to make up ground."

With the score tied at 4-4 entering the sixth, Martinez's 24th home run of the season gave the Indians their first lead of the game. Martinez hit Verlander's 2-1 pitch over the left field wall.

The 24 home runs set a new career high for the Indians catcher. It was also his eighth homer against Detroit in 2007 and fourth off of Verlander in 2007.

"They have all been fastballs," Martinez said. "I just make sure I don't miss. With a pitcher like him you can't afford to miss."

After Kenny Lofton singled to center with two outs, Franklin Gutierrez followed with a two-run blast deep into the Cleveland night to give the Indians a 7-4 lead.

Gutierrez's home run, which went an estimated 434 feet, ended the night for Verlander as well as his chances for the Cy Young Award.

"It's tough me for me and it's tough for the team," Verlander said. "You're only as good as the next day's starting pitcher. I had a lot on my shoulders. I wasn't good tonight. I gave up six hits and four home runs. Every mistake I made got hit."

Jensen Lewis (1-1) pitched three hitless innings of scoreless relief to pick up his first major league win and Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his American League-leading 41st save in 47 chances.

"It's incredible," Lewis said. "You never know when (the first win) is going to come. I was just trying to throw strikes and keep us in the game."

Verlander (17-6) entered the game on a four-game winning streak, putting him into contention for the Cy Young Award, but wasn't able to shut down the Indians, who have had Verlander's number this season.

In five starts against the Indians this season, Verlander is 1-3 with an 8.13 ERA. He allowed seven runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings - the third time the reigning AL rookie of the Year has surrendered seven runs to Cleveland. The four home runs allowed by him also were a career high.

"I've got six losses right now and three are to these guys," Verlander said. "I don't know if it's something I'm doing or something they're doing."

"We have a lot of respect for Verlander," Martinez said. "He left a couple of pitches in the zone and we put good swings on the ball. I've always said when you put a good swing on the ball anything can happen."

Detroit's offense gave Verlander leads of 1-0 in the second and 4-1 in the third, but the righthander gave them right back.

After Detroit had scored three runs in the third to take a 4-1 lead, Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer to tie the game. It was the 23rd home run of the season for Hafner.

"It was a changeup," Hafner said. "(Verlander) is one of the best pitchers in the league. I went for a good pitch to hit."

"Haf's home run, that was a big part of the game," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "That got us right back into the game. The big ball was the difference tonight for us."

Ryan Garko hit a solo home run in the second to tie the game at 1-1.

The Indians' bats bailed out starter Jake Westbrook, who lasted only five innings. The righthander gave up four runs - three earned - on a season-high 12 hits. He walked two and struck out four.

"We probably should have scored 10 runs and we didn't," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We had Jake on the ropes. We did a poor job of hitting. That pretty much sums it up, OK?"

Ramon Santiago had three hits and two RBI for the Tigers, who are 6-11 against the Indians this season.

"(Cleveland) really turned the screws on us," Jones said. "But what are we going to do, pack it up and go home? There are 10 games left. We have to keep fighting."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    DETROIT 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 12 0
    CLEVELAND 0 1 3 0 0 3 0 0 x 7 6 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER, JASON GRILLI (6TH) AND IVAN RODRIGUEZ
    CLE - JAKE WESTBROOK, JENSEN LEWIS (6TH), JOE BOROWSKI
    (9TH) AND VICTOR MARTINEZ

    HOME RUNS: DET - NO

    Sep 18 10:06 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 9:55 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY FRANKLIN GUTIERREZ (13) TO LEFT WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 6TH OFF JUSTIN VERLANDER SCORED KENNY LOFTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 4, CLEVELAND 7
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: C BLAKE (.266, 0-FOR-2)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 9:13 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY VICTOR MARTINEZ (24) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 6TH OFF JUSTIN VERLANDER.
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 4, CLEVELAND 5
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: R GARKO (.296, 1-FOR-2, HR, RBI)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 9:07 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY TRAVIS HAFNER (23) TO CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF JUSTIN VERLANDER SCORED GRADY SIZEMORE AND
    ASDRUBAL CABRERA.
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 4, CLEVELAND 4
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: V MARTINEZ (.304, 0-FOR-1)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 8:20 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    DETROIT 0 1 3 4 8 0
    CLEVELAND 0 1 1 1 1 (BOT 3)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER
    CLE - JAKE WESTBROOK

    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: C BLAKE (.267, 17 HR, 72 RBI)
    G SIZEMORE (.272, 0-FOR-1)
    A CABRERA (.293, 0-FOR-1)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 8:11 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RAMON SANTIAGO SCORED GARY SHEFFIELD. .
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, 2 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 3
    CLEVELAND 1 END TOP, 3RD

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 8:03 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO MARCUS THAMES SCORED PLACIDO POLANCO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M THAMES ON FIRST, M ORDONEZ ON SECOND, G
    SHEFFIELD ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 2
    CLEVELAND 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: R SANTIAGO (.275, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 7:56 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN GARKO (19) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF JUSTIN VERLANDER.
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1, CLEVELAND 1
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J PERALTA (.271, 20 HR, 71 RBI)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 7:37 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RAMON SANTIAGO SCORED MARCUS THAMES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R SANTIAGO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    CLEVELAND 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: B INGE (.241, 14 HR, 66 RBI)

    Tigers vs. IndiansSep 18 7:31 PM