Tigers comeback to stun Indians, 4-2 on Martinez's blast
Carrasco sharp again; Allen blows his second straight save
CLEVELAND—Coming into 2014, J.D. Martinez hit a combined 18 home runs over the last two years with the Houston Astros.
He’s already slugged 19 this season now as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
And his last homer Tuesday night was his biggest one yet.
Trailing the Tribe by one in the ninth, the Tigers left fielder took closer Cody Allen (5-4, 2.24 ERA) deep for a three-run homer, helping Motown comeback to stun the Indians, 4-2.
“I was just over-throwing and didn’t make pitches when I had to and fell behind,” Allen said. “I had to throw hittable pitches to good hitters and they didn’t miss them.”
Converting 18 straight saves prior to Sunday, it marked Allen’s second blown save in his last two outings. Of his three blown save chances on the season, two have come on a long ball by the right-handed hitting Martinez.
The 27-year-old has been a thorn in the side for the Indians all year, hitting .349 (15-for-43) with five homers and a team-high 14 RBI.
“He was having a tough time commanding his breaking ball, and because of that they were able to foul off some fastballs,” manager Terry Francona said.
“When you see who is coming up, it’s difficult to navigate through because they’re so dangerous,” Francona said. “That’s not a good feeling.”
The feeling was much different early on for Cleveland, coming out of the gate strong on both sides of the ball. With two outs in the first, Michael Brantley collected the first hit of the contest for the Tribe and quickly scored on one swing of the bat from Carlos Santana.
The switch-hitting slugger launched his team-leading 23rd home run into the Tigers bullpen to give the Wahoos a quick 2-0 advantage.
Santana has almost been an entirely different player from what he was at the beginning of 2014.
Through his first 200 at-bats of the season, the first baseman hit .175 (35-for-200) 7 HR and 22 RBI. Since then, he’s hit .273 (69-for-253) 16 HR 46 RBI.
Like Santana, Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco has also fared well of late since being reinserted into the rotation. Tuesday night was no different, as the right-hander went 5 1/3 solid innings allowing just one earned run against the juggernaut Tigers. Although he would scatter 10 Detroit hits around the ball diamond, Carrasco in turn also struck out a career-high 10.
“He really dug deep, that was really something,” Francona said. “He pitched out of so many binds and executed some unbelievable pitches. It flew past encouraging, and they made him work really hard.”
Dancing in and out of trouble the entire night, Carrasco’s only trouble came in the second inning. After three straight singles by Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos opened the frame, the Indians starter issued a bases loaded walk to catcher Alex Avila for the first Detroit run of the ballgame.
“I was supposed to throw it down and away and I threw it inside and I walked him,” Carrasco said. “But from that point to the end of the game, I just did my best.”
His best was pretty good, holding Motown to just the one run as the Tigers stranded 12 base runners.
Over his last five starts, Carrasco has been almost unhittable. Owning a 0.90 ERA, the right-hander has walked just three batters while striking out 34 in his last 30 innings of work.
“I just went to battle and needed to do my job and that’s what I did,” Carrasco said. I feel good. I think this is one of my best games.”
Good for the starter’s confidence going forward, but overall, not enough for Clevelans as they start the month of September 0-2. Offensively, the team was held to three runs or less for the ninth time over their last 12 contests.
Detroit starter Kyle Lobstein was just as effective as Carrasco, limiting Indians hitters to two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. The southpaw also whiffed a career-high 10 batters as well.
“I thought early on we kind of had him on the ropes for a bit, and then he found his breaking ball and it really helped him,” Francona said.
Through two games of the four game series, the Tribe has scored just three runs, going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and leaving 20 runners on base.
Climbing within three games in back of first place Kansas City on Sunday, Cleveland (70-66) slips to 5 1/2 behind the Royals in the American League Central.
Up next for Indians: The Wahoos look to get back in the win column against Detroit Wednesday night. Right-hander Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.23 ERA) toes the rubber opposite of six-time All-Star Justin Verlander (12-11, 4.68 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
He showed a mental toughness I hadn't seen before, and it was great to see it. He was always known as a pitcher with a "million dollar arm and ten cent head", but last night he showed that this label may no longer apply.
Pitching looks pretty solid for next year, but the rest of the lineup will need some work. Well, actually, a lot of work. Hitting and defense need serious address. Will be most interesting, especially with the good young talent in Columbus. Will the Front Office start the clock on some of these guys next year ?
Scoring 2 runs with a Dr Smooth bloop followed by a Santana blast... then nothing.. won't get it done..
The Indians have to STOP pitching to Miguel Cabrera.. period. Throw the pitches inside, off the plate and up.. let him carp and whine.. but don't let him swing the bat..
Tough night for Wild Bill Cody..it looked like he was getting a bit squeezed on the pitches just off the plate. Credit JD Martinez..he smacked that high FB hard and far..
It's salvage time at the ole ball yard beginning tonight..