DETROIT (AP) — For the second time this season, the Cleveland Indians slugged their way past Justin Verlander, sending the Detroit star to an early exit.
This time, they ended a decade-long streak in the process.
Jose Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate , and Cleveland snapped Verlander’s run of 331 consecutive games with at least one strikeout, chasing the right-hander in the fourth inning of an 11-8 win over the Tigers on Sunday. Verlander had not gone without a strikeout since April 28, 2007, when he lasted only three innings against Minnesota.
“You go into it trying to fight for everything, and make him fight for everything,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We did a really good job of that. He’s one of the most competitive pitchers you’re ever going to see, and we made him work for everything.”
Verlander (5-5) allowed seven runs and nine hits with three walks in 3 1/3 innings. Back in April, the Indians scored nine runs in four innings against him. Verlander did beat Cleveland in early May.
He was tied with Curt Schilling for the sixth-longest streak since 1913 of games with a strikeout, but the Indians wouldn’t allow him to go any higher on the list.
“I wasn’t getting swings and misses with anything today,” Verlander said. “I thought that had been better lately, but not today.”
Mike Clevinger (4-3) allowed a run and two hits in six innings. He walked five and struck out seven.
The Indians held on after Detroit scored six runs in the ninth inning, including homers by James McCann and Nicholas Castellanos. Cody Allen retired the final batter for his 16th save in 17 chances.
Ramirez hit a solo homer in the third and a three-run shot off reliever Chad Bell in the fourth. Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run homer in the second for Cleveland.
The Indians led 4-1 after three innings, and Verlander began the fourth by walking Jason Kipnis, who was 6 for 55 against the Detroit right-hander. After a one-out single by Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion — who was 3 for 31 against Verlander — singled home a run.
“I feel great, my arm feels great, my body feels great. This was just one of those days,” Verlander said. “I went back and looked at some of the pitches, and there were a couple that were terrible, and others where I made my pitch and they hit it.”
After Tigers manager Brad Ausmus came out to remove Verlander in the fourth, Ramirez followed with his 15th home run of the year, giving the Indians an 8-1 lead.
Encarnacion hit an RBI triple in the sixth and scored on Carlos Santana’s two-run double .
McCann hit a three-run homer and Castellanos added a two-run shot in the ninth. Allen came in with a runner on first for the one-out save.
Ramirez hit .367 in June and is already off to a fine start in July. He homered Saturday as well in the second game of a doubleheader.
“He’s my favorite baseball player,” Clevinger said. “Every day, he comes to the field ready to play.”
Detroit (36-45) has its worst record at the 81-game mark since 2003, when the Tigers were 20-61 and went on to an American League-record 119 losses.
Cleveland has Monday off before hosting San Diego on Tuesday night. RHP Corey Kluber (7-2) will start that game for the Indians. He’s reached double-digit strikeouts in four straight starts, matching Bob Feller’s franchise record.
Detroit is also off Monday before hosting San Francisco. RHP Michael Fulmer (7-6) of the Tigers faces RHP Matt Cain (3-7) on Tuesday.