Carmona pitches Indians past Tigers
CLEVELAND (AP)—Grady Sizemore doesn’t mind filling in as Cleveland’s designated hitter every now and then. He just can’t figure out what to do when he’s not at the plate.
“I do more running in the clubhouse than I do on the field,” he said.
Sizemore got to trot around the bases after hitting a three-run homer off Justin Verlander and drove in four runs, helping Fausto Carmona win for the first time since May 12 as the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 9-4 on Thursday.
After playing all 13 innings in Cleveland’s 14-12 loss on Wednesday, Sizemore, the Indians’ All-Star center fielder and leadoff hitter, served as the club’s DH for the fourth time this season. The lightened workload was welcomed by Sizemore, who estimated getting only four hours sleep following the extra-inning marathon.
“I’m getting used to it,” Sizemore said of the DH role.
Carmona (5-3) looked like the pitcher who won 19 games last season while making his second start after spending two months on the disabled list with a hip injury. He bounced back with a strong outing after being rocked for nine runs in just 2 1-3 innings when he rejoined the rotation last week.
Using his filthy sinker, Carmona was charged with two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander hadn’t won since shutting out Toronto nearly three months ago, and Carmona got a big assist from reliever Rafael Perez, who got an inning-ending double play in the seventh and struck out the side in the eighth.
“I was more aggressive in the strike zone,” Carmona said. “I was more relaxed. I had a different feeling on the mound.”
Sizemore hit his 27th homer in the fifth off Verlander (8-11) and Sal Fasano drove in two runs as the Indians split the four-game series with the Tigers, who dropped six games behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland won despite making three errors after four miscues cost them in Wednesday’s loss.
“The last two games have been really bad,” manager Eric Wedge said. “There is no excuse for the way we’ve played.”
Verlander, one of baseball’s hottest pitchers in July, fell to 1-6 with a 9.00 ERA in seven career starts in Cleveland. However, he was able to rest Detroit’s overworked bullpen. The Tigers used six relievers on Wednesday and placed reliever Todd Jones on the 15-day disabled list before the game.
Carmona took a three-hitter into the seventh and was cruising along when the Indians’ defense let him down.
First, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo lost Edgar Renteria’s routine fly in the sun and let it drop for a double. Ryan Raburn singled Renteria to third, and he scored on a wild pitch. Raburn went to third on the play when catcher Fasano missed the ball as he tried to flip it back to Carmona covering the plate.
Dane Sardinha’s RBI groundout made it 6-4 and chased Carmona. During the pitching change, Choo ran into the dugout to finally put on sunglasses. Perez relieved and got Curtis Granderson to pop a bunt toward first baseman Ryan Garko, who botched the easy play for an error—Cleveland’s third miscue and seventh in two games.
Wedge was upset with Choo’s decision to take the field without his sunglasses on a day when a difficult sky turned several routine fly balls into adventures.
“That just can’t happen,” Wedge said.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was similarly upset with Verlander, who lost his release point in the fifth.
He hit Fasano with one out and then went to a 3-2 count before walking No. 9 hitter Asdrubal Cabrera. Sizemore made Verlander pay by driving his first pitch into Detroit’s bullpen to put the Indians up 4-1.
“He’s got the No. 9 hitter up and Grady Sizemore on deck and he throws him a 3-2 breaking ball,” Leyland said. “That’s not acceptable. I don’t have a problem with the home run, but what happened before that was not excusable.”
The Tigers got an unearned run in the sixth, when second baseman Cabrera couldn’t handle Matt Joyce’s sharp grounder.
But Verlander gave that run back and yielded a second one. After the right-hander put two on in the sixth, Leyland came out for a visit and had barely returned to the dugout when Verlander allowed a two-out RBI single to Fasano, giving Cleveland a 5-2 lead.
“I missed my location,” Verlander said. “I can’t get too upset about that. The stuff that happened before that when I hit a guy and walked a guy is what I’m upset about.”
Clay Rapada, recalled from the minors to take Jones’ spot, then gave up a single to Cabrera before hitting Sizemore with a bases-loaded pitch to force in a run.
Verlander’s career 6.51 ERA vs. Cleveland is his highest against any team. … RHP Kyle Farnsworth, acquired from the New York Yankees for All-Star C Ivan Rodriguez, is expected to join the Tigers on Friday in Tampa Bay. … Indians C Kelly Shoppach got some well-deserved rest, one night after catching 13 innings and tying a major league record with five extra-base hits. He joined Lou Boudreau, Cleveland’s Hall of Fame shortstop and player-manager, as the only AL players to do it.