DETROIT – Jason Kipnis hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera sent the next pitch over the right-field fence to cap a seven-run seventh inning and help the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 9-3 on Friday night.
Kipnis hit another home run, a solo shot, in the Indians’ two-run ninth.
We’ve had guys struggling in the first half, it’s been a surprise, but I don’t think anybody’s mad about being at .500 in the first half, Kipnis said. And if you have a great second half, I don’t think anybody’s going to be too mad about how we did in the first half, so that’s what we’re concentrating on.
Trevor Bauer (4-4) gave up three runs on six hits over six innings.
Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez (6-4) retired the first seven batters he faced and had a 3-0 lead. He ended up giving up four runs, six hits, walking one and striking out seven in an uneven performance.
I think he just got tired, actually, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. I don’t know if it was the time off or whatever reason, it just looked to me like he got tired. The ball got up in the zone. He was real crisp up until that point. It was almost like he hit a wall.
The AL Central-leading Tigers won 17 of 23 games going into the All-Star break. Cleveland has won seven of its last 10 games.
The Indians chased Sanchez in the seventh when Nick Swisher hit a bases-loaded, two-run single with no outs. Al Alburquerque later entered the inning with two runners in scoring position and was working his way out of the jam with two strikeouts. He had a 1-2 count against Kipnis, whose fourth homer of the season gave Cleveland a 6-3 lead.
Indians reliever Scott Atchison got Austin Jackson to hit into an inning-ending double play in the seventh.
After both starters pitched two perfect innings, the Indians had a hit in the third and the Tigers had two and scored a run in the home half.
Detroit loaded the bases with one out and Bauer got out of the jam, allowing one run on Ian Kinsler’s sacrifice fly and getting Miguel Cabrera to hit an inning-ending fly.
Torii Hunter hit an RBI double in the fourth, stole third and scored on catcher Yan Gomes’ throwing error, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead. They potentially could have scored another run in the inning, but J.D. Martinez was thrown out at home trying to score from first base on Hunter’s double.
The Tigers had designated hitter Victor Martinez in the lineup for the first time since July 4. He had been out with a strained lower right side, an ailment that led to him missing the All-Star game.
Notes: Cleveland manager Terry Francona, a week after LeBron James announced he was coming home, was asked if he has bought Cavaliers tickets. I’m in the process of it. There seems to be a little bit more of a waiting list now, he said.