CLEVELAND (AP)—Jeremy Bonderman’s teammates can’t understand why the 22-year-old right-hander isn’t going to the All-Star game.
“There’s no question he’s an All-Star,” Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said.
“He should be at the game with me,” added catcher Ivan Rodriguez who will be at the game next Tuesday night. “He’s a great pitcher having a great season.”
Bonderman (11-5) allowed two runs and five hits over eight innings, coming within three outs of his third complete-game win in four starts.
Chris Shelton had three of Detroit’s 15 hits as the Tigers won their second straight game and fourth in their last 14. Cleveland dropped to 9-4 since June 26.
Bonderman matched his career high for wins, set last year when he went 11-13 following a 6-19 rookie season.
“It’s a great feeling to already have 11,” he said.
Bonderman said he has accepted not being selected to the game in his home ballpark.
“It’s over,” he said. “I’ve moved on. I’ve made plans to go fishing in Florida—if we don’t hit the hurricane.”
Bonderman struck out five, walked two and improved to 5-1 in six starts since June 11. He also became the first Detroit pitcher to win 11 games before the All-Star break since Bill Gullickson in 1991.
Troy Percival got the final out with two runners on for his seventh save in nine attempts.
Rodriguez hustled the Tigers into a 1-0 lead off C.C. Sabathia (6-5) in the fourth inning, scoring from second base on a ball hit only about 5 feet.
Rodriguez hit a one-out single and took second on a single to left by Craig Monroe.
With Rodriguez running on a 3-2 pitch, Inge topped a ball in front of the plate. Catcher Victor Martinez threw out Inge, then took the return throw from first baseman Ben Broussard and tried to apply a swipe tag while blocking the plate. Rodriguez slid around Martinez and reached under the tag with his left hand to score.
“It was a great slide,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “Everything had to go right for them there and it did.”
Rodriguez jammed his little finger on the play and left three innings later. He is listed as day-to-day.
Travis Hafner tied it in the bottom half of the fourth, hitting his 18th homer into the bleachers in right-center. It was his eighth homer in 12 games.
“Is he hot, or what?” Tigers manager Alan Trammell asked about Hafner, who his hitting .387 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs over his last 32 games.
Sabathia yielded singles to Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen to open the fifth. Shelton then hit a one-hopper back to the big left-hander, scoring Polanco. Shelton was safe and Guillen went to third when Sabathia threw wildly to second base for an error.
“I just got ahead of myself,” Sabathia said. “It was a game-changing play.”
Magglio Ordonez followed with a two-run double off the left-field wall and scored one out later on a double off the wall by Rodriguez for a 5-1 lead.
Shelton singled home a run off Matt Miller in the sixth to make it 6-1—the first run allowed by the Cleveland bullpen in 20 1-3 innings.
Sabathia gave up four earned runs and 10 hits over 4 1-3 innings. He fell to 8-4 in 15 career starts against the Tigers.
Martinez went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. … Sabathia is 0-2 with a 10.91 ERA in his last four home starts. … Polanco went 2-for-4 and is hitting .403 (52-for-129) over 33 games. … The Tigers had two stolen bases, giving them 20 in their last 22 attempts. … Tigers DH Dmitri Young, in a 1-for-26 slump, did not play. … Jim Paxson, former general manager of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, sat in a first-row seat behind Detroit’s dugout.