The Tigers seemed to forget this was Cleveland. These were the Indians. This was Friday night, on the lake, with 40,167 folks jammed into Progressive Field, and with the Tigers in the gunsights of a team and a town that wanted to shoot down Detroit and re-take first place. But in what stood as a one-night monument to the Tigers’ core strengths, they never flinched. They instead wrung out and wore out the Indians in seizing a 7-0 victory that pushed Detroit’s lead over the Indians to 2 games in the American League Central. They did it with a heavy dose of Rick Porcello (seven scoreless innings) and with splashes of offense from Andy Dirks, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, and even Ramon Santiago, all of which enabled the Tigers to breeze to their fourth consecutive victory. And in the manager’s office afterward, Jim Leyland was happy to talk not only about hitters who had belted the ball and piled up runs, but a 24-year-old pitcher who had trumped a tough Indians lineup. “I thought his mound presence tonight, with the team on the road and a packed house, was the best I’ve seen,” Leyland said of Porcello, who glowed during his seven-inning, five-hit dazzler, which featured six strikeouts and two walks. He moved his record to 5-6 and dropped his ERA to 4.82, which is about half of what it was after a nine-run debacle against the Angels in April. “It was nice to be able to rebound,” said Porcello, who wasn’t pleased with a couple of recent starts, but whose repertoire Friday was a polished plate of pitches the Indians never solved. He was so tidy, and then the bullpen followed suit with Al Alburquerque and Bruce Rondon combining for five strikeouts in their two-inning wrap-up. The Tigers hitters helped on a night when Miguel Cabrera and his sore back weren’t overly needed, even if he did pitch in with an RBI single (his 86th). And they did it against Justin Masterson, one of the nastiest righthanders in either league. Martinez had three hits and two RBIs (“It looked like the Victor Martinez we know,” Leyland said). Dirks had two doubles and a walk and scored three times. Peralta had a two-run double to right-center. Santiago, filling in for the banged-up Omar Infante, lashed a two-run single. It left the Tigers with a 48-38 record and a soft first-place cushion as they prepare this afternoon to play the Indians in the second game of a four-game series. Against a pitcher who throws not only hard, but harshly, and whose size and stride can make him look like Goliath as he fires away, the Tigers did deft work Friday against Masterson.
Tigers bats remain hot in thrashing of Indians
Detroit News | Jul 6