Little did they know that trip would be the beginning of a dismal stretch they're still trying to overcome.
Fresh off ending another losing streak, Detroit heads to Cleveland on Friday night to begin a three-game series with the surging Indians.
The Tigers were 27-12 and held a seven-game lead in the AL Central on May 19 when they began a series with then-last place Cleveland. They dropped all three games, though, and have gone 10-20 since the start of that set to fall one-half game behind Kansas City in the division.
Detroit (37-32) avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the Royals and ended their 10-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Thursday. J.D. Martinez hit a tiebreaking homer in the fourth inning and is batting .412 with three home runs and four doubles during a nine-game hitting streak.
''You see the breaks that we've been getting," Martinez said. "We hit the ball hard, it gets caught. We hit it soft, it gets caught. We get on base, the ball goes to the backstop, comes back, gets thrown out, we're out of an inning. It's just kind of like, craziness.''
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
''It was still a matter of just coming to work and trying to get better, trying to figure out what's going on,'' Nathan said. ''We've been grinding.''
Detroit now begins a nine-game road trip with a matchup against an Indians team that has won four of five after Thursday's dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Nick Swisher nearly showed up late to the ballpark and struck out three times in his first four at-bats, then hit a two-out grand slam in the 10th inning to give Cleveland (37-36) a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Swisher is 4 for 30 over his last eight games, and he heard boos from the crowd prior to his blast.
''That's what happens being a baseball player,'' Swisher said. ''You've got to go out there, fighting, grinding, scrapping and know good things are going to happen.''
The Indians have won 11 of 12 at home and will look to beat Detroit for the sixth time in seven meetings overall behind Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.35 ERA).
After pitching at least into the seventh inning in seven straight starts, Kluber has failed to get through six in each of his last two. The right-hander gave up six runs - three earned - in five innings of a 9-5 loss to Kansas City on June 10 before allowing two runs and walking four through 5 1-3 of a 3-2, 11-inning win over Boston on Sunday.
"Sloppy might be a good word," Kluber said of his latest performance. "On days when you probably feel like you don't have it, so to speak, you go out there and compete as best you can and try to keep the team in the game."
Kluber had solid stuff against the Tigers on May 19, giving up three runs and striking out eight in seven innings of a 5-4 win in 10. He has no record and a 2.18 ERA in his last three starts versus Detroit, which counters with Rick Porcello.
The right-hander went 7-1 with a 2.91 ERA over his first eight outings, but in five starts since he's 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA. Porcello (8-4, 4.03) pitched effectively Sunday, though, allowing three runs in seven innings of Detroit's 4-3 win over Minnesota.
He went 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts against Cleveland in 2013.