CLEVELAND — The Indians aren’t waving the white flag yet, but it is at half-mast and rising quickly.
A pivotal series against first-place Detroit has begun with consecutive losses for Cleveland, which was pummeled 10-1 Tuesday night at Progressive Field to fall 8 1/2 games off the pace of the first-place Tigers.
The Indians got an abysmal performance from their starting pitcher — Fausto Carmona — while the Tigers got a brilliant one from theirs — Rick Porcello — in Detroit’s sixth straight victory over Cleveland.
“It was a series we needed to win,” said Indians manager Manny Acta, whose team must win today to avoid a three-game sweep. “It puts us in a pretty bad position. Anything is possible, but it puts us in a spot where we have to win a lot of games and we have to get a lot of help.”
No one appeared to give up on the night more than Carmona, who allowed five runs in the opening inning, consequently taking his team and its struggling offense out of the game early.
Carmona (6-14, 5.18 ERA) retired the first two batters he faced before issuing a walk to Delmon Young, then allowing six consecutive singles, as the Tigers took control.
“We we’re never in it,” Acta said. “Fausto didn’t have it from the get-go. They pretty much had their way with him.”
After allowing an RBI double to Miguel Cabrera three batters into the second inning, Carmona was removed, surrendering seven runs on eight hits over 1 1/3 innings — the shortest start by a Cleveland pitcher this year.
“The pitches were not working tonight,” said Carmona, who entered the night with a 3.19 ERA in nine starts since leaving the disabled list. “Everything went to the middle and it was easy to hit.”
Carmona, who hasn’t won a game at home since April 28 against Kansas City, was booed by fans during his outing and even more so after departing in the second.
In perhaps the biggest game of the season for his team, Carmona was at his worst.
“I feel bad,” he said. “Everybody knows that that game was important for us. I felt great, but you saw what happened.”
In a substantial hole from the start, the Indians did little to dig out of it against Porcello, who allowed just a run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander shut Cleveland out on one hit over the first six innings, with Kosuke Fukudome’s solo home run in the seventh providing the only blemish on Porcello’s line.
“Before you hit you’re already down 5-0,” Acta said. “That’s not easy. Porcello was tough with that sinker. He had us pounding it into the ground all night.”
Porcello retired the side in order in five of the seven innings he worked, needing just 75 pitches to accomplish as much.
Every player in the lineup got at least one hit for Detroit, which outhit the Indians 15-4.
Former Cleveland players, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta played a big part in the victory over their old mates. They combined to go 5-for-9, accounting for five of Detroit’s eight RBIs on the night. Martinez provided the game-winning hit with a three-run homer in the Tigers’ 4-2 win Monday.
The Indians did get some positive news, with right-hander Josh Tomlin set to play catch today. Tomlin (12-7, 4.25 ERA) has been on the disabled list since Aug. 26 with a strained ligament in his right elbow.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.