Two rain delays, a comical home run for Miguel Cabrera and another unusual start by Justin Verlander. The Tigers splashed past the Cleveland Indians 11-7 on Wednesday night to complete a two-game sweep of the first-place Tribe. They waited out delays of one hour and 50 minutes to win it. The Tigers' last two runs were the result of Cabrera's fifth home run in his last three games, his 13th of the season, but one unlike any other he's hit — at least as a Tiger. Indians' center fielder Michael Bourn was about to make the catch of Cabrera's long drive when the upward movement of his glove propelled the ball, on the bounce, up and over the fence. Cabrera doesn't usually need such assistance, but, what the heck, he'll take it. The sweep meant the Tigers left Cleveland only a half game out of first place instead of trailing by the gap of 2.5 that existed when they arrived. The Tigers scored four runs in the third and three in in the fifth to give Verlander, the winning pitcher, some welcome breathing room — which, along with an umbrella, he needed. However, while winning and improving his record to 5-4, the difference between how Verlander pitched in this game and the way the world expects him to pitch remains significant. The positives about this start were his nine strikeouts and only one walk, but the Indians hit him hard all the same. Verlander, for instance, went into the bottom of the fifth with a 9-2 lead, and had he gotten through the inning with no damage, the game already would have been officially long enough when the rain arrived the first time — and hung around for an hour and two minutes. But the Indians scored three runs off him in the fifth, a rally that prolonged the game long enough for it to be two outs short of official during the first delay. And there were times during that delay when the rain looked hard enough to possibly warrant a postponement. But the storm blew through, and when play resumed, Verlander was back on the mound for two more outs — lasting long enough, in other words, to qualify for the win. The Indians reduced the gap even more, getting two runs off Drew Smyly in the sixth, but those were their last runs. Verlander won, but his pitching line wasn't pretty. In five innings, he allowed five runs on 10 hits. His new ERA is 3.66 after it was 1.55 three starts ago. In those three starts, Verlander has allowed 16 runs on 22 hits in 12.2 innings.
Tigers sweep Indians in wet, wacky series finale
Detroit News | May 23