DETROIT -- The Tigers' reversal of fortunes against the Indians paused for a night thanks to Jose Ramirez, whose two-run triple and run scored provided all the offense Cleveland needed before holding on in a wild ninth inning for a 3-2 win Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
The Tigers had won four of five games against the Indians so far this season, including the first two games of this four-game series. The Tribe can salvage a series split if it can take Thursday afternoon's series finale.
Pitching while under the weather, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco picked up the win behind six strong innings.
"He did a great job, especially under the circumstances," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I don't think he felt great today. He came in with a fever. We kind of kept telling him, 'Hey, you look OK.' I thought he did a good job. That lineup, we've seen what they can do, especially when you give them an opening. He limited the damage. He threw strikes."
Cody Allen took over with a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning, having gone 6-for-6 in save chances on the season, walking one batter and striking out 20. But four-pitch walks to Victor Martinez (to lead off the inning) and James McCann (with one out) moved the tying run into scoring position without the Tigers putting a ball in play. Allen fell behind Mikie Mahtook, but got a full-count fly ball to deep right, getting the out but advancing pinch-runner Dixon Machado to third. Jim Adduci, who singled in a run earlier, fouled off a 2-1 pitch before Allen spotted a fastball at the knees for a called third strike.
"Trying to be aggressive in the moment," Adduci said. "I had a good pitch to hit, but fouled it off. He had his good stuff when I was up there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ramirez clears bases: Tigers starter Matthew Boyd allowed only a Yan Gomes walk in his first three innings before a couple of singles began the fourth. But it was Ramirez's drive, a 380-foot launch toward the right-center-field scoreboard at 102.7 mph, that accounted for Cleveland's offense. Tyler Collins tried a diving attempt but fell just short. Ramirez thought about trying for an inside-the-park home run, but he settled for the two-run triple.
"Jose got a big hit," Francona said. "We didn't knock the ball all over the ballpark, and that ball almost got caught. Collins made a really nice effort. I think it hit his glove. It's such a big outfield out there. That scores two for us and we get the sac fly, and our night was over."
"Really, it just comes down to one pitch," Boyd said.
Guyer makes catch at wall: Before the ninth-inning drama, the closest the Tigers came to a late-inning rally was an eighth-inning line drive from Nicholas Castellanos to the right-field wall. What looked like an extra-base hit and the tying run in scoring position became the second out of the inning thanks to a leaping catch from Brandon Guyer, who crashed into the wall. It was one of two well-struck liners from Castellanos that went for outs.
"He has hit a lot of balls hard," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "His [.255] average is well below what it normally would be."
"Tonight shows me as much as anything. We saw it last year plenty of times. We know what he can do when he's on, when he has location and everything is working. He's been like that all year. This was the first time we've seen him go out and be searching. The fact that he can get through those innings and find a way is honestly probably a better trait than anything else he's got." -- Indians relief ace Andrew Miller, on Allen's save
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler left the game after six innings with left hamstring tightness. Kinsler grounded into a fielder's choice to end the fifth, but he stayed in at second base for the sixth. Andrew Romine replaced him at second to begin the seventh. Ausmus said after the game that he hadn't spoken to Kinsler, but would have an update Thursday.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW Miguel Cabrera tried an aggressive play on the bases in his second game back from the disabled list, but saw it backfire. Cabrera, who missed a week and a half with a right groin strain, took off for third base on Martinez's fourth-inning grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor, but Carlos Santana fired across the infield. Cabrera pointed his finger and shook his head at umpire Chris Guccione's call that Ramirez tagged him out at third trying to advance. But a two-minute, 38-second review couldn't definitively determine whether Cabrera beat the tag. The call stood, erasing a key baserunner in scoring position.
"I was worried about him when he was running in the game until that point," Ausmus said. "When he took off there, I knew he was fine."
"I thought the whole play was good," Francona said. "I thought Frankie did a good job of stopping him. Carlos had a little bit of a double clutch, but it was a real strong throw. You don't see a lot of first basemen make throws like that. I thought it was a good play all around."
In the fifth inning, the Indians challenged a ruling at second base, but that call also stood after a replay review. Collins moved up from first on a flyout to left by Alex Avila, sliding into second as the shortstop Lindor applied a tag. Cleveland challenged whether Collins came off the bag while Lindor had his glove on the runner. Collins was deemed safe after the review, and he then scored on a single by Adduci.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar (2-2, 4.34 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe in a 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Tigers on Thursday at Comerica Park. Salazar has allowed eight runs in the first inning this season (five innings), compared to six runs total in all other innings combined (24 innings).
Tigers:Michael Fulmer (2-1, 3.19), who missed out on facing the Indians at the end of last season thanks to a rainout that wasn't made up, gets his first chance of 2017 in Thursday's series finale. Fulmer went 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA in four starts against Cleveland last year.