DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera beat Indians pitching again, allowing Alfredo Simon to beat Cleveland for the third time this season and allowing the Tigers to take the rubber match of the three-game series with an 8-1 win Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park despite Francisco Lindor's first Major League hit.
Ian Kinsler's bloop single put the Tigers ahead two batters into their opening inning, putting the Tigers in a battle with both Cleveland hitters and the oncoming weather system. Corey Kluber (3-8) settled down to retire eight batters in a row from there until Cabrera sent a no-doubt drive to left-center field for the second time this series, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead. A 1-hour, 51-minute delay did nothing to quiet Tigers bats, with J.D. Martinez delivering a three-run homer off Scott Atchison in the sixth to put the game away.
"He gave up a solo to Miggy," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber. "Other than that, he was good. Then, the rain came. He simulated an inning and then, once we had the next delay … that didn't seem to make much sense [to have him keep pitching]."
Cabrera added singles in the sixth inning off Atchison and the eighth inning off Ryan Webb for his 10th three-hit game of the season. Half of those have come at Cleveland's expense.
Simon (7-3), who beat the Indians twice in April, allowed three leadoff runners in his first four innings but had two inning-ending strikeouts and one double play to help halt Cleveland's momentum and earn his third win in his past four starts.
"I feel great," Simon said. "All my pitches are working real good right now. When I throw the ball down, everything works really good."
Blaine Hardy rebounded from his loss Saturday to deliver two scoreless innings with two strikeouts before Brandon Moss broke up the shutout with a ninth-inning home run off Joakim Soria.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED More Miggy: Cabrera has tormented the Tribe all season long, and he did not let up in Sunday's win for the Tigers. His one-out solo home run off Kluber was his fifth blast this season against the Indians and the first baseman's 14th shot overMall. In nine games vs. Cleveland this year, Cabrera has hit .647 (22-for-34) with 15 RBIs, the highest average for any hitter against a single opponent with at least 30 at-bats in a season.
"Just because he's had success off me in the past," Kluber said, "I'm not going to shy away from him ever or try to make the perfect pitch or something like that. I'm going to stick to my game plan, and it's just a matter of making a good pitch." More >
Stealing a run: Kluber opened the game with a four-pitch walk against Anthony Gose, marking the pitcher's first game-opening four-pitch walk since Sept. 25, 2012. Gose capitalized by stealing second base (the ninth steal Kluber has allowed this year). Kinsler followed with an RBI single to left field to put Cleveland behind, 1-0.
Damage control: Detroit might have had more production in the first inning had it not been for the arm of Tribe catcher Yan Gomes. On a strikeout of Yoenis Cespedes, Kinsler broke for second base on a steal attempt. Gomes came up firing and nabbed Kinsler in time, bringing an abrupt end to the frame with a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out.
Rough return: Following the lengthy rain delay, Atchison took over for Kluber, marking the reliever's first appearance since coming off the disabled list on Saturday. Atchison lasted four batters, recorded just one out and surrendered Martinez's three-run home run that pushed Detroit to a 5-0 advantage.
"He's having trouble putting hitters away," Francona said of Atchison. "It seems like every time he leaves a breaking ball or a cutter up, he gets hurt on it. I thought his fastball looked like it had better life to it. Again, putting hitters away was an issue before, and today it hurt him because he left it up."
"Doesn't matter if it's far or short. We got a win. That's the point. I don't care if it's far." -- Cabrera, on his 450+ foot home runs this weekend
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Not only had Cabrera been a thorn in Cleveland's side, the two-time American League Most Valuable Player has presented a problematic matchup for Kluber. Cabrera is now batting .571 (20-for-35) with two walks, five home runs and 10 RBIs in his career against the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. More >
Kluber has been forced to work with minimal support all season. Cleveland has averaged 2.29 runs per game on days Kluber starts, scoring two or fewer runs in 10 of his 14 outings. The Indians have averaged 4.71 runs of support in their other games this year.
The Indians called up the highly touted Lindor (MLB.com's No. 3-ranked prospect in baseball) from Triple-A on Sunday. The 21-year-old Lindor began on the bench but got his first taste of The Show as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, striking out on four pitches. Lindor finished his first Major League game 1-for-2 for Cleveland, collecting his first hit with a single in the ninth inning.
"I was excited," Lindor said. "The first at-bat went quick. The second at-bat, I was trying to slow myself down a little bit. I didn't feel my legs." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Lindor is scheduled to start his first Major League game on Monday night, when the Indians head to Wrigley Field for an 8:05 p.m. ET Interleague tilt against the Cubs. Righty Trevor Bauer (5-3, 3.53 ERA) is slated to start for the Indians in the opener of the two-game road series.
Tigers: Detroit opens a home-and-home series against the Reds with two games at Comerica Park, beginning with a 7:08 p.m. ET contest Monday. Anibal Sanchez, who has allowed 13 home runs in 13 starts so far this season, meets a Reds squad with several power threats. Jon Moscot is scheduled to make his third Major League start for Cincinnati.