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Tigers beat Indians 6-4, pad lead in AL Central

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Tigers beat Indians 6-4, pad lead in AL Central
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Cleveland Indians shortstop Mike Aviles (4) and left fielder Michael Brantley chase a blooper hit by …

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers have built a bit of a cushion in the division, taking advantage of their powerful lineup, steady rotation and Cleveland's slump.

Prince Fielder hit a bases-clearing double in the second inning and the Tigers held on to beat the Indians 6-4 Saturday.

AL Central-leading Detroit has won the first two games of the series - and three straight overall - to build a season-high 4 1/2-game lead over the Indians, less than three weeks after trailing them by 2 1/2 games.

''It's good to be in first place, but we have to stay focused and keep winning games so we can finish in September,'' Miguel Cabrera said.

The Indians fell a game under .500, losing a season-high six straight and 12 of their last 15 games.

''There's a lot of us not feeling good right now,'' said Nick Swisher, who is hitless in his last 24 at-bats.

Rick Porcello (3-3) gave up two runs - one earned - and three hits while striking out seven over six innings.

Ryan Raburn hit a two-run homer off reliever Luke Putkonen to pull the Indians within two runs in the seventh inning and they had a shot to at least get even in the ninth.

After Phil Coke pitched 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, Jose Valverde pitched a shaky ninth for his eighth save in 10 opportunities.

Carlos Santana hit a one-out single in the ninth, a flare to right that second baseman Omar Infante almost caught with his back to the plate. Yan Gomes walked to put Raburn - the potential the go-ahead run - at the plate and Valverde struck out his former teammate and Mike Aviles to end the game.

''He pitched his way out of it,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ''He made some quality pitches. Two strikeouts to end it, that's pretty good.''

Carlos Carrasco (1-1) gave up six runs and 10 hits over four-plus innings in what might be his last start for a while.

''When you miss your spots, they're going to hit you and that's what I did,'' Carrasco said, adding he doesn't know whether the appeal of his suspension will be dropped.

The Indians led 1-0 after Porcello's first four pitches. Leadoff hitter Michael Bourn doubled and Jason Kipnins singled before Porcello retired 12 straight while his teammates gave him some run support.

Detroit loaded the bases in each of the first three innings, scoring six runs and leaving five on base.

Carrasco got out of a one-out jam in the first by getting Victor Martinez to pop out and Jhonny Peralta to fly out.

The right-hander wasn't as fortunate in the second when Detroit scored four runs on four hits.

Andy Dirks hit a two-out RBI single and later, Cabrera drew a walk to load the bases after a nine-pitch at-bat that started with an 0-2 count. Fielder followed with a three-run double on a sharply hit drive to right-center to give Detroit a 4-1 lead.

''You saw a great hitter have a great, disciplined at-bat,'' Leyland said. ''Then, Prince came up with a huge, huge hit.''

The Tigers loaded the bases without an out in the third and Carrasco got Avisail Garcia to hit into a double play that allowed one run to score. He then gave up Dirks' RBI single that made it 6-1.

Cleveland put Carrasco on the mound before he is forced to sit.

''Maybe we can knock out this suspension,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game.

Carrasco was able to pitch while appealing an eight-game suspension, an argument that potentially could be dropped soon after his outing in Detroit. Major League Baseball suspended him in April for ''intentionally throwing'' at New York's Kevin Youkilis, and he was sent to Triple-A Columbus where he stayed until being recalled for Saturday's start.

NOTES: Detroit is skipping RHP Anibal Sanchez's turn in the rotation Sunday in the series finale because there's tightness in the back of his shoulder, creating an opportunity for LHP Jose Alvarez to make his major league debut. The Tigers sent RHP Jose Ortega to Triple-A Toledo to make room on the roster. ... The Indians put RHP Zach McAllister on the 15-day disabled list, hoping to avoid his sprained right finger getting worse. ... Tigers OF Austin Jackson, who has been on the DL since May 12 with a pulled left hamstring, ran from home to second and second to home before the game and team trainer Kevin Rand said he will be evaluated Sunday to determine if he's ready to start a rehab assignment. ... Francona was ejected for the second time in a week, getting tossed in the middle of the eighth inning after getting between Swisher, and plate umpire Andy Fletcher while they were arguing. ''I think (Fletcher) lost his composure,'' Francona said. ''I didn't go out there to get thrown out the game.''

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