CLEVELAND (AP) — A clutch comeback in front of a packed ballpark ended in disappointment for the Cleveland Indians.
Two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera singled home Ian Kinsler with one out in the 10th inning, giving the Detroit Tigers a 5-4 victory over Cleveland on Saturday night.
The Indians tied the game in the with three consecutive two-out singles off Detroit closer Joe Nathan. Michael Bourn drove home David Murphy with the tying run, sending the sellout crowd of 40,712 into a temporary frenzy.
Cleveland closer Cody Allen (3-2) entered to start the 10th and gave up a leadoff single to Kinsler, who scored two batters later on Cabrera’s drive to the wall in left-center.
“Kinsler hit a pretty good pitch right there, so you’re trying to pitch around damage after that,” Allen said. “You’ve got Miguel Cabrera, who is the best hitter any of us have ever faced and a back-to-back MVP winner. I made a bad pitch to Miggy and he made me pay for it.”
Indians manager Terry Francona agreed with Allen’s assessment.
“Cody misfired on that pitch,” he said. “He tried to come up and in, and left it right down the middle. He missed his spot by a lot, and when you do that, that’s what Cabrera does.”
Francona was faced with a tough decision – pitch to Cabrera or walk him intentionally and go after Victor Martinez, who homered in the second and had an RBI single in the sixth.
“Sometimes you have to choose which one you are going to pitch to,” Francona said. “You’d rather not face both of them, but sometimes you’ve got to. Sometimes you’ve just got to get them out.”
The Indians only managed four hits in seven innings against Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, who exited with a 4-2 lead. Al Alburquerque replaced him in the eighth and hit Bourn with a pitch, then gave up an RBI double to Asdrubal Cabrera to make it a 4-3 game.
Rookie reliever Blaine Hardy kept Cleveland from getting closer – and stranded Cabrera at third base – by retiring Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana on three straight groundouts.
Nathan (4-2) struck out Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher to start the ninth, but Bourn, Yan Gomes and Murphy each singled to prevent Verlander from posting his first June victory.
In the bottom of the 10th, Carlos Santana singled with two outs off Tigers reliever Phil Coke before Chisenhall fanned to end the game.
Santana hit a solo homer in the fourth off Verlander, who also allowed an unearned run in the second.
The Indians fell four games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central Division, also dropping their second straight in the three-game series.
The Indians recorded their second sellout of the season, thanks mostly to Omar Vizquel being inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. Vizquel, who played for the Indians from 1994-04, is Detroit’s first base and infield coach.
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer started and went 6 1-3 innings, striking out five while allowing four runs. He surrendered a career-high three homers as Victor Martinez, Kinsler and Rajai Davis all went deep.
“He made some mistakes and paid for them,” Francona. said. “He had trouble throwing strike one. He had Rajai Davis 1-2 and tried to bounce a breaking ball, but left it up and over the middle of the plate. I don’t think he was out of gas. Before that he threw two fastballs right by him.”
Brantley, who returned after being sidelined with a concussion Monday, was 0 for 5 to end his nine-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Indians C Yan Gomes threw out Davis at second base in the fifth, the sixth straight time he has caught a runner trying to steal. Gomes hasn’t made an error in 35 games after committing nine in his first 29. … RHP Vinnie Pestano has retired all three batters he faced since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Friday. … The Indians have lost three of four at home since winning 10 straight at Progressive Field. … Tigers RHP Max Scherzer (8-3) meets RHP Josh Tomlin (4-4) in the three-game series finale Sunday.