NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in five runs in the first two innings, and Justin Verlander struck out 12 to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 12-0 victory Tuesday night against a Cleveland lineup full of backups.
The Indians clinched the AL Central title on Monday night in Detroit, and their starting lineup Tuesday was without Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez. Detroit took full advantage, beating Cleveland for only the third time all year and pulling within a game of Baltimore for the American League’s second wild card.
Verlander (16-8) went 7 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and a walk.
Mike Clevinger (2-3) lasted only two innings, allowing Cabrera’s two-run double in the first and his three-run homer in the second.
Justin Upton added a three-run homer in the seventh, and Andrew Romine hit a two-run shot in the eighth.
Cleveland is 14-3 against Detroit this season, but the Tigers did exactly what could be expected against this unique version of the Indians. Cabrera’s double made it 2-0 before the Tigers made a single out, and it was 5-0 after his drive over the wall in center an inning later.
Cabrera now has 35 home runs and 102 RBIs on the season.
Ian Kinsler hit an RBI single in the fourth, and Upton’s 29th homer made it 9-0.
The Tigers began clearing their own bench late in the game. They used five pinch hitters in the eighth, and Romine — the only batter in that frame who wasn’t a pinch hitter — had come on earlier as a defensive replacement. His drive to right put the Tigers up 12-0.
Detroit hit for the cycle that inning with consecutive batters on a double by Nick Castellanos, a triple by Tyler Collins, Romine’s homer and a single by Steven Moya.
Tigers: Castellanos (left hand) was activated from the DL before the game, and he flew back to Michigan in time to in the eighth. He had been at the instructional league.
Indians: Cleveland might have its regulars back in the lineup Wednesday night against the Tigers, but it could be another adventure on the mound. Zach McAllister (3-2) makes only his second start of the season. He has pitched 51 times in relief.
Tigers: Rookie Michael Fulmer (11-7) makes his final scheduled start of the season. He needs 6 1/3 innings to qualify for the ERA title.
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