By Jason Beck, Jordan Bastian and Jordan Horrobin
DETROIT -- The Tigers continued their effort to reverse their fortunes against the Indians from last year. Daniel Norris outpitched Trevor Bauer for the third time in as many meetings since September, helped by a Tyler Collins three-run home run, as Detroit cruised to a 7-1 win Monday night at Comerica Park.
It was the third Tigers win in four meetings between the Midwestern neighbors and American League Central competitors. The Indians took 14 of 18 meetings last season on their way to the division title and eventual AL pennant.
"I can't really compare the two. It's ancient history, really," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's nice that we've played well so far, but we've got a lot of games against them."
Norris walked three of his first 12 batters but limited his damage to an Edwin Encarnacion third-inning RBI single. By then, the Tigers had done the bulk of their damage off of Bauer, with RBI doubles from Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez in the first inning ahead of Collins' second home run of the year.
Bauer was charged with seven runs on seven hits in four innings, and walked five.
"It was bad," Bauer said. "I didn't command the ball well, obviously. It's the first bad one, I think, as far as execution goes. You can't be perfect every time out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Against the wind: A chilly evening in Michigan had the wind blowing in from right field, but the Tigers' biggest hits early went in that direction. Castellanos had his 14th barrel of the season, a 396-foot launch to the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field for a double to score Collins in the first inning. Collins cleared the wall an inning later, an estimated 430-foot drive with a 106-mph exit velocity.
"We just took advantage," Martinez said. "[Bauer] was a little wild, and then when he was trying to throw strikes, I think we were ready for it, and put good swings. I think that was it."
Norris' great escape: Norris took the mound in the third inning with a 5-0 lead and couldn't command the strike zone, giving up a leadoff walk to ninth hitter Michael Martinez, and then two singles and a walk with two outs to bring in a run and threaten more. But just as he seemed poised for his third consecutive early exit, he settled down to strike out Jose Ramirez on three pitches, the last a slider that Ramirez chased.
"The big things for me were the quick adjustments he made," catcher James McCann said. "He didn't allow it to snowball."
"You look up in the fourth inning and his strike-to-ball [ratio] is almost relatively even. We get him to work ahead a little bit more, his success would be a lot better."
--Francona, on Bauer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Martinez responded to the Indians' infield shift in the fifth inning by laying down a bunt to the open left side. It was the first bunt hit of his career, in his 1,757th game.
Left-handed starters have gone 8-2 with a 1.98 ERA (15 earned runs in 68 1/3 innings) in 11 games against the Indians this season. Norris has limited Cleveland to one run in 12 innings of work this season.
JACKSON EXITS WITH INJURY
Indians outfielder Austin Jackson left Monday's game in the ninth inning after legging out an infield single. Shortstop Jose Iglesias made an incredible diving stop in the hole and quickly shifted to his feet for a strong throw to first, but Jackson arrived just ahead of the ball. Jackson stepped on the bag with his left leg and was in clear discomfort after stopping up the first-base line. Jackson, who underwent left knee surgery last June, was replaced by pinch-runner Abraham Almonte. After the game, Francona said Jackson was having his foot examined, noting that the outfielder may have injured a toe. The Indians will have more information Tuesday.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Ace Corey Kluber is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Tribe in a 7:10 p.m. ET divisional clash with the Tigers on Tuesday at Comerica Park. In 18 career games against Detroit, the righty is 6-6 with a 4.31 ERA in 108 2/3 innings.
Tigers:Miguel Cabrera is expected to return from the disabled list as the series continues Tuesday night. Justin Verlander gets a rematch with the Indians 17 days after Cleveland scored a career-high nine runs off of him in four-plus innings, prompting Verlander to suspect either the Indians were stealing signs, or he was tipping pitches.