Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – There are times in a season that you can look back upon and call turning points of the season.
From a positive point of view, the Indians may have had theirs on Thursday night at Progressive Field against the Tigers and Justin Verlander.
The pitcher who no one seems to hit got beat around by the Indians after he basically shut them down for six innings, as the Tribe rallied for their second memorable win of the year off him, beating Detroit 5-3.
The Indians had their backs against the wall down 3-1 in the 7th with Verlander cruising, when back to brack homers from Carlos Santana and Travis Hanfer tied the game to start the inning.
With the crowd in a frenzy still from the homers, the Indians got a single from Jose Lopez, and after Shin-Soo Choo singled with two outs, Asdrubal Cabrera got Lopez home with a single to right to make it 4-3.
The victory means a huge 2-1 series win for the Indians, and puts them 3.5 back of the White Sox in the AL Central, and 3 back of the Tigers for second at 50-49.
Detroit falls to 53-46 with the loss, a half game back of the idle White Sox in the division.
Zach McAllister went 6.1 for the Indians, allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits. He walked two and struck out seven in the no-decision.
Joe Smith worked 0.2 innings in relief of McAllister, and by doing so picks up the win to move to 7-2 on the season.
Chris Perez allowed two runners on in the 9th, but was able to get out of it without allowing a run to earn his 29th save of the year.
Verlander falls to 11-6 on the year, he allowed 5 runs on 9 hits in 7 innings with two walks and four K’s.
The Tigers got on the board in the first, as Prince Fielder singled to left with two outs to bring home Austin Jackson to make it 1-0 Detroit.
The Indians came right back off Verlander, as Shin-Soo Choo doubled on the first pitch he saw to start a rally. Two batters later Jason Kipnis hit a sac fly to tie it at one.
Detroit made it 2-1 in the fourth as Jackson got another hit, this time a single to shallow left with two outs to score catcher Alex Avila, who doubled to start the frame.
As Verlander was rolling, the Indians looked even more in trouble when Delmon Young led off the 6th with his 11th homer of the season off McAllister to make it 3-1.
The 7th though saw the Indians put on what could be their most memorable inning of the year, coming back to get to Verlander for four runs to take the lead.
Santana and Hanfer started it with booming homers to send the crowd into a frenzy to tie the game at three. For Santana it was his 8th homer, and for Hafner his 10th.
It was the third time this season the Indians have gone back to back homers, the last in May vs the Twins in Minnesota.
Jose Lopez started the go-ahead rally with a single, then two batters later Choo singled to get Lopez to second.
He scored to make it 4-3 when on a 2-0 pitch Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right. Choo went to third, and Cabrera to second on the throw.
Then Kipnis hit a liner that Ramon Santiago couldn’t handle, and the ball dropped, allowing Choo to score to make it a 5-3 game.
Vinnie Pestano came sprinting out of the pen to throw a 1-2-3 8th inning, getting two fly outs and a strikeout to end the frame.
The Indians head to Minnesota to start a three-game set with the Twins on Friday night. Josh Tomlin (5-7) goes for the Indians vs Scott Diamond (8-4) for the Twins at 8:10pm.