Indians bats go cold against Verlander, fall to Detroit 5-1
Verlander mows down Tribe offense as team drops two in a row
By Jim Berdysz
August 7, 2013
CLEVELAND—Fans don’t normally blurt out the name Don Kelly when thinking about the Detroit Tigers. Yet, for some reason, his name has never resonated well with Tribe fans.
Just like it was Monday, Detroit did all of their damage in one inning.
A five run Tigers fifth capped off by a three-run homer by Kelly was more than enough, as Detroit beat up Cleveland, 5-1. The win sends the Motor City Kitties to their tenth consecutive victory as they continue their tear at Progressive Field.
“It was all done in about 16 pitches,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “They executed the hit and run very well. You give them an opening and that’s what they can do.”
The loss sends Cleveland (62-51) five games behind their Central Division rivals and one game behind the Texas Rangers for the second wild card spot. Tuesday also marked the ninth time the Tribe has lost to Detroit in their last 10 meetings, falling to just 3-11 against them on the season.
After getting out of a bases loaded no out jam without surrendering a run in the second inning, Justin Masterson(13-8, 3.46 ERA) ran into trouble in the fifth.
The Indians ace hit Ramon Santiago to lead off the inning before serving up a base hit to Austin Jackson. Torii Hunter gave the Tigers their first run of the ballgame on a RBI groundout before Miguel Cabrera quickly gave them their second on a RBI double off the center field wall.
“I just didn’t do a good job minimizing damage in that inning,” Masterson said. “It was like everything was up in the zone and unfortunately we didn’t make a good adjustment.”
The three-run blast by Kelly was all the runs they needed, as the Tribe ace falls to 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA in three starts against Detroit on the season.
“Just hitting the guy with the sliders is probably the toughest thing,” Masterson said. “Especially to lead off the inning, I was the most upset about that.”
Entering the game with a .231 average and four homers, Kelly has feasted off anything thrown his way from Masterson. Going 3-for-3 against him Tuesday, the left-handed hitter is now batting .458 with two home runs and eight RBI in his career against the Tribe starter.
“He loves facing me,” Masterson said. “If I was Superman, he would be my kryptonite. He salivates when I get up there, how it happens I don’t know.”
Masterson finished the game allowing five runs over seven innings of work, marking the first time an Indians starter as surrendered five earned runs since July 6.
Cleveland struck for the game’s first run in the bottom of the second on a RBI groundout by right fielder Ryan Raburn. The former Tigers outfielder came into the ballgame hitting .286 (4-for-13) against his former club with three homers and six RBI.
Offensively, that would be it for the Tribe as they were once again mowed down by great Detroit starting pitching. Justin Verlander (12-8, 3.74 ERA) may have come into the ballgame allowing at least three runs in each of his three starts against Cleveland, but it was a different story this time around.
The 2011 A.L. Cy Young Award winner tossed eight innings yielding just four hits while striking out seven.
“We had a couple chances, he just seemed to find another gear tonight,” Francona said. “When he hits 100 MPH at the knees, that’s tough.
The team finished just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, as the Indians have struggled scoring runs when matched up with Detroit, now hitting a dismal .217 (18-for-83) with RISP over their last 10 meetings.
“For us we just got to get ready for tomorrow,” first baseman Nick Swisher said. “These guys have laid it on us pretty good we need to get them a couple times."
Despite dropping the last two games to the Tigers and losing ground in the division, the team remains optimistic.
“I’ve been doing this for a little while now, it’s too early yet,” Swisher said. “If you look at our schedule going down the last month of the season, we have a chance to do something.”
Making just his second big league start, the Tribe will turn to right-hander Danny Salazar (1-0, 1.50 ERA) Wednesday against Doug Fister (10-5, 3.52 ERA) hoping to salvage and pickup a game in the four-game series.
Notes: Prior to Tuesday’s game, Cleveland announced starting pitcher Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.77 ERA) was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right long finger sprain. In order to fill the roster spot, the team recalled right-handerMatt Langwell from Triple-A Columbus.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.