With the victory, Detroit improved to 8-2 against Cleveland this season.
"We know they're a good team," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "They're probably not where they want to be in the standings, either. But, for whatever reason, we seem to bring out the best in them, which isn't a good thing."
Cespedes' blast off Indians starter Trevor Bauer in the third inning -- the left fielder's 10th of the season -- was a leadoff shot that carried to the seats in front of the bullpens in straightaway center field. The home run was a low line drive that had a launch angle of just 18 degrees, according to Statcast™.
Bauer (6-4) was on the hook for much more than that long ball, though.
After tossing seven shutout innings in his previous start, the right-hander surrendered seven runs on nine hits in only three-plus innings. In a four-run fourth inning, Bauer recorded no outs, but he issued a bases-loaded walk to Miguel Cabrera and yielded a two-run double to Victor Martinez before being pulled.
"He looks a lot more like Victor Martinez right now," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "And I think he feels a lot more like Victor Martinez right now."
Cespedes also contributed an RBI double in the first inning and a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Tigers lefty Kyle Ryan departed after giving up three runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings, but the bullpen held Cleveland's struggling lineup in check just enough the rest of the way. Jason Kipnis led the Tribe's early offensive outburst off Ryan with a two-run double in a three-run third inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED V-Mart hits home: There are worse scenarios for the Indians with Cabrera than a bases-loaded walk, but the fourth-inning pass set up Martinez to capitalize against his old team. After fanning on a 95-mph fastball from Bauer a couple innings earlier, Martinez wasn't going to miss the 94-mph heater he got on a full count next time up. Martinez singled to the right-field wall, driving in two runs and extending the Tigers' lead to 6-3. More >
"Those are pretty dangerous hitters," Francona said of the batters behind Cabrera. "I know it's easier said than done, but that's why you really have to attack [Cabrera], because it feeds right into what they're doing if you don't."
Kip keeps streaking: Following a leadoff walk by Giovanny Urshela and a double from Roberto Perez, Kipnis put the Indians on the board in the third inning with a two-run double. That extended the second baseman's hitting streak to 17 games (longest active streak in the Majors) and his streak at Progressive Field to a Cleveland-record 26 games.
Saving Kyle Ryan: The Tigers had to go to their bullpen in the fourth inning, but Ryan could have faced a worse fate if not for shortstop Jose Iglesias, whose flip from deep in the hole started a double play to halt Cleveland's third-inning rally at three runs.
Sacrificing a rally: With none out and Kipnis on second base in the third, Francisco Lindor used a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner. In one sense, the play worked, as Michael Brantley followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 3. It also gave Detroit an easy out, setting the stage for an inning-ending double play off the bat of Ryan Raburn that ended Cleveland's push.
"At some point balls that are bloops are going to fall. They all just seemed to fall tonight. I think of their nine hits off me, two were hit hard. It makes it tough against a lineup like that when all the weak contact induced does fall and you've got to keep trying to pitch around having guys all over the bases." -- Bauer, on his outing
"We have a long way to go. We still have a lot of time left. Anything can be a spark. Anything. Is this is going to be a good sign for a turnaround? I mean, we're 2-0, 20 runs last two games. I guess it's a good sign." -- Martinez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Murphy's pinch-hit homer in the eighth marked his third off the bench this season. That equals a Cleveland single-season franchise record, which was most recently achieved by Jason Giambi in 2013.
Cespedes sent a pitch from Bauer into the right-field corner with two out in the first inning, sending the pitching bouncing just inside the chalk line for a run-scoring hit. Initially, it was deemed a two-run triple, but Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the call, because the baseball hit a side railing on one bounce. After a review lasting four minutes, 21 seconds, the original call was overturned and Cespedes was awarded a ground-rule double, scoring only one run. Cabrera, who scored from first base on the initial play, was ordered to return to third.
Three innings later, the Tigers used a replay challenge to help start their go-ahead rally on an Iglesias infield single. First-base umpire Eric Cooper initially ruled that Bauer beat Iglesias to the bag, but replay showed Iglesias sneaking in his foot around Bauer and onto the bag as Bauer charged in. Two walks and two singles later, Bauer was gone, and the Tigers were ahead.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers:David Price (6-2, 2.50), who shut out the Indians a week and a half ago at Comerica Park, will get the ball on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. ET with a chance for his third complete game in four starts.
Indians: The Tribe will turn to right-hander Danny Salazar (6-2, 3.56 ERA) for Tuesday's tilt at Progressive Field. The hard-throwing righty has gone 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two outings against Detroit this season, piling up 17 strikeouts against four walks in 14 innings in those starts.