Alvarez wins, gets round-trip ticket

Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Jose Alvarez got a cold shower after his splashy major-league debut. Then, he got a ticket back to the minors.
Alvarez was doused with soft drinks, beer and water by his teammates in the clubhouse after he limited the Cleveland Indians to one run in six innings, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 4-1 victory on Sunday at Comerica Park.
Alvarez had plenty of pre-game jitters but looked like a cool customer once the game began. Alvarez, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday, didn't give up a hit until Ryan Raburn's solo home run in the fifth.
Making a spot start in place of Anibal Sanchez, who had stiffness in his pitching shoulder and upper back after his last start, Alvarez allowed three hits and one walk and struck out seven.
"I'm going to be lying to you if I say no," Alvarez said of being nervous. "I think it's normal, but I controlled my emotions well and kept focused on the game.
"My catcher (Alex Avila) helped me a lot with my first outing here."
When Alvarez will make his next major-league outing is unknown. After the game, Alvarez was returned to Toledo. It was too late for Cleveland, which lost its seventh straight game.
"He did everything," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He had enough velocity, he had a very good changeup and a breaking ball that he threw on all counts.
"Against a guy like that, you have to stay in the middle of the field and we probably tried to do too much."
Don Kelly's tiebreaking three-run, one-out home run in the sixth off Justin Masterson (8-5) snapped a 1-1 tie and made Alvarez the winning pitcher.
The Tigers recorded their fourth straight victory and a three-game series sweep while stretching their American League Central lead to 5 1/2 games.
Kelly hit the game-winning blast, but Alvarez was the star.
"He made some unbelievable pitches," Kelly said. "Watching from center field, every pitch was moving all over the plate. Even the ball Raburn hit, that was a good pitch."
Joaquin Benoit picked up his third save after Drew Smyly pitched two scoreless innings.
The Indians' road losing streak increased to 11 games. They haven't lost that many consecutive road games in a season since June 21-July 12, 1991, when they dropped 12 straight.
A leadoff walk to Miguel Cabrera got Masterson in trouble during the sixth. Prince Fielder followed with a single and, one out later, Kelly hit a low, inside pitch over the right-field wall for his third home run this season.
"I don't even think that was a mistake," Francona said. "Their lineup is very strong and he had to pitch out of the stretch just about every inning. He got Kelly 1-2 and was just trying to change his eye level and threw it down and in. That was a tough pitch to hit."
Alvarez was tough to hit throughout his six-inning stint.
"Everything was working," he said. "Every pitch I threw, the fastball, changeup and slider, the ball was down in the zone. They hit one homer, but that happens.
"I just tried to get my composure back and concentrate."
Detroit scored the first run on Avila's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the second.
NOTES: Jhonny Peralta was not in Detroit's the starting lineup. Peralta, who leads American League shortstops with 74 hits and a .338 average, had a career .067 average against Justin Masterson and manager Jim Leyland thought it was a good time to give Peralta a rest. ... The Tigers have won 31 of their last 41 games against the Indians at Comerica dating to the 2009 season, the most home victories against any team during that span. ... Detroit begins a six-game trip at Kansas City on Monday, and Cleveland wraps up a nine-game trip with three games at Texas in a series that also starts on Monday. ... Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco dropped his appeal of a Major League Baseball suspension for "intentionally throwing" at Kevin Youkilis of the Yankees in April and began serving it on Sunday. He had his penalty reduced from eight games to seven and will be eligible to return June 17 against Kansas City. Carrasco was recalled from Triple-A Columbus before Saturday's game and was the losing pitcher. ... Cleveland's Nick Swisher ended an 0-for-26 streak with a sixth-inning single. ... Reliever Evan Reed was recalled from Toledo to replace Jose Alvarez on the roster.

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