CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is already thinking about the postseason.
The Indians rested several of their regulars a day after clinching the AL Central and lost to the Detroit Tigers 6-4 Sunday as Jim Adduci homered and drove in a career-high four runs.
Cleveland rolled to a 15-0 win Saturday and celebrated its third straight division championship following the game. Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley — three of Cleveland’s All-Stars — were among the regulars given the day off by their manager.
Losing Sunday certainly wasn’t part of Francona’s plan, but since the Indians don’t play Monday, he saw an opportunity to give his regulars a couple of days to regroup. Cleveland opens a three-game series Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.
“The guys who have played pretty much every day get today and tomorrow,” Francona said. “Then we can come back and it gives us 13 games to kick it back in and get prepared for the next step.”
The Indians are hoping Josh Donaldson to play a key role in that next step. Donaldson, acquired from Toronto on July 31, started at third base and was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. The 2015 AL MVP is batting .154 (2 for 13) in four games with the Indians.
Reliever Andrew Miller will also be counted upon in October. He pitched a scoreless seventh but gave up a solo home run to Mikie Mahtook in the eighth. Miller has been on the disabled list three times this season with hamstring, knee and shoulder injuries.
“Like you hope, keep taking steps in the right direction,” Francona said. “Up to that point (the home run) it was his best velocity that we’ve seen. Breaking ball continues to be good. He got in a 3-2 count and got one up too much.”
Cleveland rookie Shane Bieber (10-4) took a 3-1 lead into the fifth, but the Tigers scored four times and bounced back from Saturday’s loss in which they had only two hits and committed four errors.
“We needed that,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They came back out like they have all summer long, just ready to play. They weren’t down or anything like that. It was a nice ballgame.”
Francisco Liriano (5-10) allowed three runs in seven innings for the Tigers, who won two of three in the series after losing 10 straight at Progressive Field dating to last season.
Adduci capped the fifth-inning rally with his third home run of the season, a three-run drive that cleared the 19-foot wall in left field. He also had a sacrifice fly, but wasn’t aware he had a career day.
“I didn’t even know that,” he said with a laugh. “It would be great to have them more often. Today was great.”
Tigers closer Shane Greene allowed a run in the ninth, but recorded his 30th save. Brandon Guyer and Brandon Barnes started the inning with singles and Adam Rosales had an RBI single with two outs before Rajai Davis popped up to end the game.
Both teams scored in the first. Adduci gave Detroit the lead with a sacrifice fly, and Yandy Diaz tied it with an RBI single.
Cleveland broke the tie in the fourth. Rookie catcher Eric Haase had an RBI single for his first major league hit and Erik Gonzalez drove in a run with a grounder.