The Indians may have just turned the proverbial page on their lost season. It may be the same one that turned August to September.
With 26 games left this year, the Tribe seems poised to become a band of spoilers, competing toughly against the league’s playoff contenders.
They spoiled the Tigers again Tuesday night, riding on the backs of a quality start from Justin Masterson and an early offensive run against Detroit’s Rick Porcello.
After dropping the first game of the series, the Tigers must have felt confident to face Masterson, who has given up a .303 batting average and a lousy .382 on-base percentage to Detroit in his career.
Five players in the Detroit line-up had a career batting average above .315 against Masterson, and still he kept them to just four hits in six strong innings.
Cleveland jumped out ahead on Porcello in the second inning.
With a man on first, Michael Brantley worked an eight pitch at-bat, driving a full-count fastball just fair down the third base line. Carlos Santana had been running on the pitch and scored on the Brantley double.
Jack Hannahan followed with a two-out single that drove Brantley home for the second run.
The Tribe scored another run an inning later off of two doubles by Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera.
The only offense provided by the Tigers came in the sixth, with Miguel Cabrera drilling a two-run home run, his 34th of the season. The two RBIs put Cabrera at 113 on the season, just one behind Josh Hamilton for the league lead.
For the second straight night, the Tribe bullpen kept the narrow lead, with four relievers combining for three scoreless innings on the back end to bring the winning streak to two games, Cleveland’s highest since August 9th.
- Cleveland has won back-to-back games only three times since the All-Star break.
- In his four games since being called up, OF Russ Canzler is 5-16 with one extra base hit.
- Cleveland won its first series since taking two of three games against Detroit on July 24-26.
- In the first two games of this series, the bullpen has pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just one base hit and striking out six batters.
AL Central Scores for September 4, 2012
Texas Rangers @ Kansas City Royals: 6-3
Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox: 18-9
Cleveland Indians @ Detroit Tigers: 3-2
AL Central Standings for September 5, 2012
Chicago White Sox:..73-62….0 games back
Detroit Tigers:………..72-63….1.0 games back
Kansas City Royals:..61-74….12.0 games back
Cleveland Indians.…..58-78….15.5 games back
Minnesota Twins:…….56-80….17.5 games back
AL Central Schedule for September 5, 2012
Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox – 2:10 p.m.
Cleveland Indians @ Detroit Tigers – 7:05 p.m.
Texas Rangers @ Kansas City Royals – 8:10 p.m.
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