August 5, 2012
DETROIT (AP) — Manny Acta tried just about everything.
The Cleveland manager used six relief pitchers. He even had his team line up with only two outfielders in the ninth inning, when the Indians prevented Detroit from scoring the winning run.
It still wasn’t enough. Cleveland’s losing streak is now at nine — and the latest defeat unfolded in unthinkable fashion.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer to cap a stunning five-run rally by Detroit with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving the Tigers a 10-8 victory over the Indians on Sunday.
With two outs and nobody on — and the Indians up 8-5 — Chris Perez (0-3) walked Alex Avila and pinch-hitter Andy Dirks. Austin Jackson doubled home a run, and Omar Infante’s two-run single tied it.
Cabrera followed with a towering drive that eventually cleared the fence in left-center. Detroit never had the lead before then.
“This is very deflating,” Acta said. “You never believe it is going to happen. Even with Infante at the plate, I’m feeling confident because we’ve got two out, a two-run lead and our closer on the mound.”
Travis Hafner and Ezequiel Carrera had hit back-to-back solo homers for Cleveland in the 10th.
Detroit’s Darin Downs (1-0) earned his first career win.
The Tigers remained within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, winning a wild game in which catcher Gerald Laird and manager Jim Leyland were ejected in the second inning.
Jackson and Infante had four hits apiece, including two triples for Jackson and a homer by Infante.
The Tigers nearly won it in the ninth when Jackson led off with a triple. After Josh Tomlin struck out Infante, Cleveland intentionally walked Cabrera and Prince Fielder to load the bases.
The Indians then brought Jose Lopez off the bench as an extra infielder, removing Shin-soo Choo from right field and momentarily playing with two outfielders. Quintin Berry hit a grounder to first baseman Carlos Santana, who started a home-to-first double play that sent the game to extra innings tied at 5.
Hafner hit his 200th career homer, and Carrera followed with his first. The Indians added another run in the inning, but it somehow wasn’t enough.
“What makes this so much worse is the way that our position players and bullpen did everything in the world to get us a game,” Perez said. “We’ve been playing terribly, but we kept getting big hits, and Josh pitched out of that situation in the ninth. Then we get three runs in the 10th, and I gave it all away.”
Cabrera’s homer was his 27th of the year. He said he couldn’t initially tell if it would clear the fence.
“It was a little scary,” Cabrera said. “It was high. I was not sure if I hit it out. I’m glad.”
Max Scherzer allowed four runs and 10 hits in five innings for the Tigers. He struck out nine — the ninth time he’s done that this season — but the Indians chipped away against him.
Cleveland scored twice with two outs in the first on RBI singles Michael Brantley and Hafner. Fielder answered with a run-scoring single in the bottom half for the Tigers, but Choo’s 13th home run of the year made it 3-1 in the third.
Detroit scored a run in the third and tied it on Avila’s RBI single the following inning. Santana brought home a run with a single in the fifth to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead, but Infante evened things up again with a solo shot in the bottom half.
Cleveland starter Chris Seddon was pitching in the big leagues for the first time since Oct 1, 2010, when he was with Seattle. He was signed in January to a minor league contract.
The left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.
Hafner’s RBI single gave Cleveland a 5-4 advantage in the seventh, but again, the lead didn’t last. Fielder tied it with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half.
Vinnie Pestano came on with men on first and third on nobody out in the seventh and allowed Fielder’s fly ball. It was the first of 15 inherited runners he’s allowed to score this season.
Laird and Leyland were ejected after Laird hit a comebacker to the mound, and Seddon had to run to first with the ball amid some confusion over who was covering. Seddon went to tag Laird, who slid into first but was called out.
Moments later, Laird came out of the dugout, having apparently already been thrown out. Leyland was right behind him and argued with multiple umpires before being ejected by plate ump Joe West.
NOTES: The Indians designated RHP Jeremy Accardo for assignment so they could purchase the contract of Seddon from Triple-A Columbus. ... Cabrera was the DH on Sunday instead of playing 3B because of a sore ankle. ... ... The Tigers begin a four-game series against the New York Yankees on Monday night. Justin Verlander (11-7) takes the mound for Detroit against Ivan Nova (10-5) of the visiting Yankees. ... Cleveland returns home for a three-game set with Minnesota. Zach McAllister (4-3) takes the mound for the Indians on Monday night against Scott Diamond (9-5).