Tigers Sweep Indians, Increase Lead to 2 1/2 Games

The Detroit Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians 10-4 Sunday, completing a three game sweep and running their lead to 2 1/2 games (and four games in the loss column) over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central division.

The Royals won the first three games of a four game series recently in Detroit, winning 10 straight overall and had a 1 1/2 game lead over the Tigers on June 18. The teams’ fortunes have turned lately, with the Tigers winning four straight while the Seattle Mariners came into Kansas City this weekend and swept the Royals.

The Tigers got a home run from Miguel Cabrera, as well as five doubles: two from Nick Castellanos, and one each from Alex Avila, Ian Kinsler and the red-hot J.D. Martinez, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Over the past week, Martinez has gone 11-for-22 with four doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs.

Reigning American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer (9-3) was the winning pitcher, going six innings, giving up six hits, one run, while striking out eight and walking two.

Scherzer was followed by three young relievers, two of whom were making their big-league debuts. Blaine Hardy pitched a scoreless seventh, while Patrick McCoy, in his first big-league appearance, had an easy eighth.

Chad Smith had his big-league initiation in the ninth, allowing three runs on four hits, although only one ball — a double by Michael Brantley was hit hard according to the Detroit News.

The Tigers did most of their damage in the fifth inning, exploding for seven runs and chasing starter Josh Tomlin, who did not get an out in the inning. Tomlin took the loss, making his record 4-5, pitching four innings, giving up eight hits, eight runs (5 earned), and two walks while striking out five according to Tigers.com.

Scherzer was pounded by the Royals in his last start, in which he lasted only four innings and gave up a whopping 10 runs on 10 hits, including two home runs. The 10 runs raised his ERA from 3.05 to 3.84.

“I’ve taken punches on the chin before, and I’ve come back,” Scherzer said following that loss. “I’m not worried about that. I just have to get back to where I’m putting guys away.” He certainly bounced back Sunday.

It was the first series sweep for Detroit since they swept the Boston Red Sox on May 18 in Boston. The Tigers went 10-20 in that span before the sweep in Cleveland this weekend. As previously reported in The Inquisitr, the Tigers won 11 straight on the road earlier this year.

After an off-day Monday, Detroit goes to Texas to open a series with the Rangers on Tuesday followed by a series with the Houston Astros.

[Image via washingtonpost.com]

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