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Tigers 9, Indians 4

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The American League Central showdown is turning into a beatdown. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit back-to-back home runs in a four-run third inning and the Detroit Tigers rolled to 9-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.

In winning the first two games of the four-game series between the top two teams in the division, Detroit has outscored Cleveland 16-4.

Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter missed by a single of hitting for the cycle. Hunter had a double, a triple, a home run and three RBIs as the Tigers won their fifth game in a row and extended their division lead over second- place Cleveland to 3 1/2 games.

The Indians have lost four in a row as their starting pitching continues to struggle. In the first two games of the series Cleveland starters Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco have combined to give up 13 runs on 17 hits in eight innings.

Detroit blew Saturday's game open with that four-run third inning when Carrasco gave up two doubles and two home runs in the span of five batters.

With one out, Austin Jackson doubled. Hunter flied out, but Cabrera hit a breaking ball from Carrasco into the left field bleachers for his 27th home run, raising his league-leading RBIs total to 88.

Fielder followed Cabrera's homer with one of his own, a towering drive into the seats in center field, his 15th homer of the season. Victor Martinez followed with a double and scored on a single by Jhonny Peralta, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead, and the rout was on.

The Indians, who have lost eight of 10 games against the Tigers this season, could do nothing with Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, who was making his first start since suffering a right shoulder strain on June 15. Sanchez (7-5) was activated off the disabled list before the game and held Cleveland to one run and three hits in five innings.

Carrasco gave up three runs in the fourth inning, one of them unearned because of his own error. In 3 1/3 innings, Carrasco (0-4) was charged with 7 runs (six earned) and 10 hits as his ERA climbed to 9.10.

Three of Cleveland's runs came on home runs, a solo shot by Nick Swisher in the sixth and a two-run blast by Ryan Raburn in the ninth.

NOTES: Slumping Mark Reynolds was not in the Indians' starting lineup but struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning. Reynolds is hitless in his last 20 at-bats, with 11 strikeouts. ... The Indians optioned pitcher Joe Martinez to Triple-A Columbus in order to clear a roster spot for Carlos Carrasco. ... The Tigers optioned pitcher Jose Alvarez to Triple-A Toledo before the game to make room on the roster for Anibal Sanchez. ... Cabrera's 86 RBIs in the Tigers' first 85 games were the most by a Tigers player through 85 games since Hank Greenberg had 100 RBI in the first 85 games of 1937.
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