By Jason Beck and Jordan Bastian
MLB.com |@beckjason |
DETROIT -- After Shane Greene gave up one earned run and posted three wins in as many starts, the Cleveland Indians made it look easy beating the Tigers righty. Brandon Moss homered twice as part of a seven-RBI outburst, sending Greene to his first loss and the Tigers to their fourth in a row as the Indians rolled to a 13-1 win Friday night at Comerica Park.
The 12-run margin was the first double-digit victory for the Indians over the Tigers since April 17, 2008. Detroit had won seven in a row against Cleveland, including three at Progressive Field two weeks ago, since Danny Salazar's shutout against the Tigers on Sept. 3.
"We came out and played really good baseball," Moss said. "For everybody to come out and stay aggressive and keep plugging away -- for our offense, that's a really good thing. It's just been a little bit of a struggle for us offensively here early on. Everybody doing something tonight makes [us come] in tomorrow a little more confident."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED For starters: In his second start of the season, Salazar overpowered Detroit's lineup for his second win in a row. The hard-throwing righty was hitting 97-98 mph early in the outing and ended with a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He walked three, scattered six hits and limited the Tigers to just a second-inning solo homer by Nick Castellanos. In his two starts, Salazar has 21 strikeouts in 13 innings, plus a 2.08 ERA.
"Everything [was working]," Salazar said. "Changeup down. Fastball down. Elevating the fastball whenever I wanted. Working the game on the same page with [catcher Roberto] Perez. The defense was awesome. The offense was unbelievable." More >
No more flying solo: Moss' two homers and the two-run homer by Lonnie Chisenhall in the eighth marked the first non-solo homers by the Indians this year. Cleveland opened the season with 11 straight solo homers -- a feat that hadn't been accomplished since 1988 (Reds). It was the longest such season-opening streak in the American League since 1975 (Brewers, then in the AL).
"You've heard the other side, where people say, 'You better hold off, because you'll need some for tomorrow," Indians manager Terry Francona said of the offense. "No, man. Let them have some fun. Let them relax and feel good about themselves. I think we really needed that. And it's against a good pitcher [Greene] -- a guy that came in on about as good a run as anybody in the game."
Cabrera cools off against Cleveland: The last time the Indians saw Miguel Cabrera, he was finishing off an 11-for-14 series in Cleveland. He started off with a first-inning bloop single Friday, but once Salazar struck Miggy out with a 96-mph fastball that tailed inside and eluded the two-time MVP's bat, the run was over. Cabrera ended the evening 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Tigers' offense still cold: The temperatures warmed up around Detroit after a midweek cold snap. The Tigers offense did not, continuing a scoring slump that has gone on for a week and a half. Detroit has scored 31 runs over its last 11 games. Its only run Friday was Castellanos' opposite-field homer to end his 0-for-9 slump.
"I think we're cold with the bats, quite frankly," manager Brad Ausmus said. "We gave up runs today, but overall since the [last] Cleveland series, with the exception of one game against the White Sox [last Sunday], our bats have been cold."
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus briefly slowed the Indians' offense in the ninth inning by challenging Mike Aviles' leadoff infield single. Though shortstop Jose Iglesias' throw was in the dirt, replay showed it got to Cabrera at first base before Aviles' foot touched the bag. It was the second call overturned in as many challenges by Ausmus this season, and it left one less runner on base for Moss' second home run.
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With 11 punchouts on Friday, Salazar has notched a double-digit strikeout showing in each of his first two starts this season. He is the first Indians pitcher to have consecutive double-digit strikeout showings in his first two April starts since 1970 (Sam McDowell).
Moss' seven RBIs equaled the single-game record for Comerica Park. The previous players to accomplish the feat were Jack Cust (Aug. 10, 2007), Bobby Higginson (June 13, 2000) and Mike Sweeney (July 22, 2004).
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer will look to build on his strong start to the season on Saturday in the second tilt of this three-game set in the Motor City. The 24-year-old Bauer took a no-decision in his last outing, but he is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his three starts, which have included 26 strikeouts in 19 innings.
Tigers:Alfredo Simon, the last Tigers pitcher to earn a win, will try to stop Detroit's skid when he takes the mound against the Indians Saturday afternoon. Simon had a gem going in Cleveland two weeks ago before five straight hits knocked him out in the sixth. He still got the win in that one, part of his 3-0 start.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.