Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Two down, 16 to go.
That’s the attitude of the Indians after their second straight win over the rival Tigers on Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
The Tribe scooted across two runs in the 8th inning for the 4-2 win, but the bigger story was the Houdini act of relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano, who escaped a bases loaded, no-out jam in the top of the 8th that was the difference.
“Bases loaded no outs, your just trying to give up one run, limit the damage,” Indians closer Chris Perez said of the 8th.
The Indians used the emotion of Pestano getting out of the 8th to put together a string of hits in the bottom of the inning to score two runs to win the game.
Against Tigers lefty reliever Phil Coke, Jason singled with one out, then Asdrubal Cabrera doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out.
Travis Hafner hit a grounder to Tigers 1B Price Fielder, who was playing in, and Fielder made a bouncing throw to home, and Kipnis slid in safe to make it 3-2 Indians.
They added another run with a Carlos Santana sac fly to center to score Cabrera to make it a 4-2 game.
Perez, who got his 14th save on Tuesday night, worked a 1-2-3 9th inning with two strikeouts for his 15th save of the season.
The Indians have won two straight over the Tigers after Detroit took the final 10 meetings a year ago. The Tribe now leads the AL Central by 3.5, while the third-place Tigers have lost five of seven and dropped to five games back.
Detroit stranded 10 runners and twice left the bases jammed.
Detroit struck first with a pair of runs in the 6th. Quintin Berry started the inning with a bunt that got away from Jason Kipnis that the speedy Tiger turned into a double.
Andy Dirks then popped a double to right that Shin-Soo Choo couldn’t snag, and Berry scored to make it 1-0.
Two batters later with Dirks on third, Prince Fielder hit a line ground shot to short, and Asdrubal Cabrera tired to go home, but Carlos Santana couldn’t handle the throw, allowing Dirks to score.
It didn’t take long, as the Indians tied it right back up at two with a huge homer from Travis Hafner.
Kipnis singled to start the inning, then with one out “Pronk” crushed a Fister offering to right center for his 5th homer of the season to get the Indians right back in it.
McAllister gave up two runs and eight hits over 6.1 innings in his fourth start since being called up from Triple-A Columbus on May 12th.
Fister gave up five hits and two runs over 6.2 innings. The Tigers have scored nine runs in his five starts.
Thursday it’s a marquee matchup between two aces, as Justin Masterson (1-3, 5.04) goes for the Indians against Justin Verlander (5-1, 2.14) for Detroit at noon.