CLEVELAND -- A hot team ran into a hotter pitcher Tuesday at Progressive Field as Detroit's Max Scherzer
held Cleveland to two hits in eight innings to lead the Tigers to a 5-1 victory, snapping the Indians' five-game winning streak.
"He shut us down tonight. You have to tip your cap to him," said Indians outfielder Michael Bourn, who had one of the two hits allowed by Scherzer.
"He threw a lot of strikes, pitched ahead in the count and threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. That was pretty impressive against an outstanding hitting team," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
Scherzer gave up two singles and a run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, then retired the last 22 batters he faced before being removed from the game after throwing 118 pitches in eight innings.
"I didn't have any rhythm in the first inning but in the second I was able to slow it down," said Scherzer. "They hit a couple of balls at people, and I did a good job of locating."
In improving his record to 6-0 Scherzer gave up one run on two hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, whose record fell to 3-3, held Detroit scoreless on three hits through the first five innings before the Tigers finally got to him in the sixth.
With the Indians leading 1-0, Andy Dirks led off the top of the sixth by hitting a home run into the right-field seats, his fifth of the season. Torii Hunter followed with a double off the right-field wall.
With first base open, the Indians elected to pitch to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera
"When you (intentionally) walk a guy with nobody out you're asking for trouble," said Francona in explaining his decision to pitch to Cabrera. "Runners at first and second with no outs, that puts your pitcher in a tough spot."
So Kluber pitched to Cabrera and the reigning American League Most Valuable Player belted an 0-1 pitch over the center-field wall, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead.
"I missed my spot, and it was right where he wanted it," said Kluber.
"He's a hard guy to get out," said Leyland. "Not many guys can hit that one out, but that's why he is who he is."
Cabrera, who hit three home runs in Texas on Sunday, now has 12 homers, tying him for the league lead. He increased his league-leading RBI total to 49.
Detroit added two insurance runs in the ninth against the Cleveland bullpen.
The Indians' only hits off Scherzer were singles by Bourn, who came into the game 1-for-11 in his career vs. Scherzer, and Asdrubal Cabrera
, which led to a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley, giving Cleveland a 1-0 first-inning lead. The Indians have outscored their opponents 36-19 in the first inning this year.
That was the only run scored by Cleveland, which had no luck solving Scherzer, who is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in two starts vs. Cleveland this year.
The Indians did not have a base runner from the second inning through the eighth.
"I knew if I continued to throw up zeroes our hitters would eventually get to him (Kluber)," said Scherzer. "I have a lot of confidence in them. They can strike in any inning, and that's what happened. We were down 1-0 and then we were winning 3-1."
Kluber was very sharp in the early innings. He retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. Victor Martinez, who singled in the second, was the only base runner allowed by Kluber in the first four innings, and Kluber held the Tigers scoreless on three hits through five.
"He had us off balance the first two times through the order," said Hunter, "but then we made some adjustments."
NOTES: Cabrera's home run was the 195th of his career with the Tigers. That ties him with Kirk Gibson for 10th place on the team's all-time list. ... Indians 1B Nick Swisher was placed on the paternity list prior to the game. Swisher has left the team to be with wife JoAnna, who gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, on Tuesday. ... INF Cord Phelps was recalled from Class AAA Columbus to replace Swisher on the roster. ... Prior to the game, the Tigers recalled pitcher Luke Putkonen from Class AAA Toledo, where he was 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA.
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