June 30, 2016

Mostly clear

Tribe: Cleveland keeps it close, but Tigers win 4-2

CLEVELAND — The Indians kept Max Scherzer from continuing his winning ways, but they couldn’t prevent the Tigers from taking a key series at Progressive Field.

Scherzer entered the game with victories in his first 13 decisions of the season, but he departed after seven innings and the game tied. Still, the right-hander’s teammates picked him up, with former Indian Victor Martinez’s two-out, two-run double in the 10th inning off reliever Matt Albers lifting Detroit to a 4-2 win.

Cleveland’s Mike Aviles celebrates with Michael Brantley after both scored on a single by Lonnie Chisenhall in the second inning. Below, Cleveland starting pitcher Scott Kazmir reacts after giving up a solo home run in the fourth to Matt Tuiasosopo. (AP PHOTO)

“We left a small village on the sacks tonight,” said Nick Swisher, whose club left 10 on to the Tigers’ eight. “Obviously this is a frustrating loss. It’s a tough game to lose.”

The win — the Tigers’ third in the four-game series — bumped Detroit’s lead in the Central Division standings to 3½ games over second-place Cleveland, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.

The Tigers scored first on consecutive doubles from Martinez and Jhonny Peralta in the second inning off Indians starter Scott Kazmir, who allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out five over 5⅔ innings.

But after a 20-minute rain delay hit with the Indians batting in the second inning, Cleveland came back to score its only two runs off Scherzer on a two-out single from Lonnie Chisenhall.

Chisenhall was at the plate when the game was delayed, returning with the count at 2-2 before taking the first pitch he saw into right field to put his team in front for the final time.

Detroit tied it two innings later when Matt Tuiasosopo hit a solo home run off Kazmir with one out in the fourth.

With rain falling consistently throughout the night, pitching took over from there, as the teams managed few scoring opportunities.

Still, Cleveland blew a substantial opportunity to plate the game-winning run in the ninth inning.

Mark Reynolds singled to start the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Drew Stubbs, who advanced to second on a passed ball. With a runner in scoring position, Cleveland failed miserably, as Chisenhall flied to center, Yan Gomes struck out for the third time on the night and Michael Bourn flied to left.

“Our big chance, obviously was in the ninth,” manager Terry Francona said. “We just couldn’t push a run across.”

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Tigers in extra innings, with Cleveland losing for the first time in six games past the ninth inning. The Indians entered the night as the only undefeated team in the majors in extra innings.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at (440) 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.