CLEVELAND (AP) — Michael Fulmer outpitched All-Star teammate Corey Kluber and Alex Presley hit a tiebreaking, two-run double and the Detroit Tigers hung on late to salvage the series finale with a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday night.
Fulmer (9-6) dominated Cleveland’s lineup until the seventh, when he gave up a two-run homer to Indians All-Star Jose Ramirez.
Detroit’s shaky bullpen barely held together over the last three innings. Shane Green worked out of a bases-loaded threat in the seventh and Justin Wilson did the same in the eighth while getting five outs for his 10th save in 11 tries.
Fulmer won’t pitch for the AL in Miami on Tuesday night, so he made the most of a nationally televised matchup against Kluber by beating the Central-leading Indians. He held Cleveland to one run and three hits over the first six innings and won his third start in a row.
Presley ripped his double just inside the left-field chalk in the sixth off Dan Otero after the Tigers loaded the bases against reliever Nick Goody (1-1), who replaced Kluber to start the inning.
A win over Cleveland is a positive way for Detroit to enter the break. The Tigers (39-4) had a rough first half and there are trade rumors swirling around the club, which could be looking to unload players and contracts before the July 31 deadline.
The Indians (47-40) were again without manager Terry Francona, who underwent a cardiac ablation to correct an irregular heartbeat and spent four days at the Cleveland Clinic. Francona is expected to rejoin the club following the All-Star break in Oakland.
The Tigers made Kluber, who didn’t get any run support for the second straight game, work hard during his five-inning stint. He allowed just one run, and had his team record streak of consecutive games with at least 10 strikeouts end at five.
Kluber was in trouble in the fifth, but side-stepped danger by striking out Justin Upton — on his 101st pitch — with the bases loaded and Miguel Cabrera waiting on deck.
Indians acting manager Brad Mills turned to his bullpen in the sixth and the Tigers pounced, getting Presley’s double and a high-hop infield RBI single by Jose Iglesias to take a 4-1 lead. Nichloas Castellanos hit an RBI single in the seventh to make it 5-1.
The Indians figured out Fulmer in their half. Edwin Encarnacion singled and with fans signing, “Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose,” Ramirez connected for his 17th homer.
Carlos Santana followed with a single and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus pulled Fulmer for Greene, who got a fielder’s choice and two strikeouts to preserve the two-run lead.
It got dicey again for Detroit in the eighth as Greene and Wilson walked the bases loaded but escaped the jam when Santana grounded out.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (strained left groin) hasn’t recovered enough to throw during the All-Star break and it’s unclear when he’ll return to the rotation. He went on the DL Thursday.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis is back on the DL with a strained right hamstring. Mills said Kipnis will likely be out longer than 10 days. Kipnis began the season on the DL with a sore right shoulder and has had a stiff neck. … RF Lonnie Chisenhall left in the fourth with an injured right calf.
Tigers: With trade rumors percolating, Detroit opens a three-game series at home against Toronto on Friday.
Indians: Cleveland will be represented by five players at the All-Star Game.
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