Tigers 5, Indians 4
CLEVELAND (AP)—Even when the Detroit Tigers win they look lost.
Alex Sanchez walked into a bizarre double play, but Craig Monroe and Dmitri Young hit home runs to help the Detroit Tigers win their second straight game for the first time in six weeks with 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
“Nothing comes easy for the Tigers,” manager Alan Trammell said.
Detroit, which broke an 11-game losing streak Sunday, has 97 losses and is threatening to surpass the 1962 New York Mets’ modern record of 120 in a season.
Nate Cornejo (6-13) snapped his five-game losing skid and gave the Tigers their first winning streak since they won two in a row wrapped around the All-Star break.
“We did a lot of damage control in this one,” Trammell said.
The Tigers scored four times in the fourth on Young’s solo homer, his 26th, followed by five more hits and an error to take a 5-3 lead.
But the rally ended when Sanchez walked off the field not knowing who was out.
“I’ve never seen that,” Trammell said.
With the bases loaded and one out, Bobby Higginson grounded to third baseman Casey Blake. Sanchez never left second and when Blake threw to second baseman John McDonald, who touched second base, Dan Klassen was ruled out advancing from first base on a force play. Sanchez, however, then started toward the dugout, thinking he was out.
“I pointed at the lead runner with my left hand and said, ‘You’re safe,’ then I pointed to the runner from first with my right hand and said, ‘You’re out,”’ second-base umpire Marty Foster said. “But Sanchez then left the bag and he was out.”
Indians manager Eric Wedge came out to argue and the umpires ruled that Sanchez was out for abandoning his base.
Crew chief Charlie Reliford explained that Sanchez left the bag before Ramon Santiago scored from third, negating a possible run.
“We just watched the replay and Marty’s calls were right on,” Reliford said.
Sanchez still seemed confused afterward.
“He pointed at both of us,” he said. “Maybe I was out, maybe he was out, so I started walking away. I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Asked why he never ran on the play, Sanchez said: “I don’t know. I just froze.”
Cleveland lost for just the seventh time in 20 games since August 6 as Cornejo held the Indians to four runs and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings.
Cornejo had lost five straight starts since winning in Cleveland on July 24. The Tigers have four wins in his five starts against Cleveland—their only victories in 13 games against the Indians this season.
Jamie Walker got five outs for his third save.
Monroe led off the Tigers’ second with his 17th homer, hitting a 3-2 pitch from Billy Traber (6-7) into the first row of the left-field bleachers.
The Indians went ahead 2-1 in bottom of the second. Jody Gerut was hit by a pitch, took second on a single up the middle by Matt Lawton and scored on an opposite-field bloop double by Ryan Ludwick that landed inches fair down the right-field line.
Lawton scored and Ludwick took third on a groundout by Ben Broussard—and the Indians then ran themselves out of the inning.
Josh Bard grounded back to Cornejo, who caught Ludwick halfway down the line from third and tagged him out. Meanwhile, Bard rounded first and Cornejo threw there for an easy double play.
“Our baserunning has been atrocious at times,” Wedge said. “It is way too late in the season to be doing that. We talked about it (before the game).”
Broussard doubled in Ludwick, who had singled, to make it 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth.
Traber allowed four earned runs and nine hits over four innings.
The Indians observed a moment of silence before the game for Ken Coleman and Bobby Bonds. Coleman, an Indians broadcaster in the 1950s and 60s, and Bonds, who played in Cleveland in 1979, died this past weekend. … John Adams, the fan who bangs his drum in the bleachers at Jacobs Field, threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the 30th anniversary of his first game drumming up support for the team. … Young is batting .435 (20-for-46) during an 12-game hitting streak. … McDonald left after five innings with a stiff lowerback.