CLEVELAND – The Detroit Tigers hung on for win. The bullpen made things way too difficult.
The Indians scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth -- including a grand slam by Lonnie Chisenhall off closer Francisco Rodriguez. But the Tigers won, 7-6, tonight at Progressive Field.
Miguel Cabrera got ticked off in the first inning. He made Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer pay in the fifth.
Lefty Daniel Norris was good from the start and went on to throw a career-best six shutout innings. Norris allowed two hits and four walks. He struck out five.
Cabrera hit a three-run home run to rightfield to extend the Tigers’ lead to 4-0 in the fifth. Alex Avila added a two-run home run off Bauer in the sixth inning. Jose Iglesias went 3-for-4 with a two runs scored and an RBI. Avila and Cabrera each had two hits.
Lefty Kyle Ryan loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning before Tigers manager Brad Ausmus called on lefty Justin Wilson. Roberto Perez grounded out to second, which allowed Edwin Encarnacion to score. The Indians loaded the bases again after Wilson walked ex-Tiger Austin Jackson, but Wilson got Carlos Santana to strike out swinging at a 97 m.p.h. fastball.
Nick Castellanos hit an RBI double to bring home Iglesias in the top of the ninth, giving the Tigers a six-run cushion.
William Cuevas came on with a six-run cushion in the ninth for the Tigers. He loaded the bases and then gave up an RBI single to Jose Ramirez. Ausmus called on closer Rodriguez to get the final two outs which came by striking out Abraham Almonte and former Tiger Austin Jackson, with the grand slam in between.
The Tigers claimed the first win in the season series against the Tribe. The Tigers were 4-14 last season against the eventual AL champions.
Cabrera became upset in the first inning after Bauer’s first pitch to him was up and in. Bauer hit three Tigers, including Cabrera, in a game last September. Cabrera apparently had not forgotten.
Cabrera turned towards the Indians dugout and appeared to voice his displeasure at the latest ball that he thought came too close to him. He eventually drew a walk.
After the Tigers’ third out, Cabrera again turned toward the Indians dugout and remained vocal after Victor Martinez made the third out.
Cabrera also continued to complain to Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. before Santana batted in the bottom of the first inning.
Iglesias hit an RBI single in the first inning and scored on Cabrera’s home run in the fifth after getting a leadoff double.
Avila struck out looking in the second, drew a walk in the fourth and then hit his second career home run off Bauer in the sixth. Avila came into the game hitting .375 (6-for-16) off Bauer.
The Tigers have hit at least one home run in each of their 10 games this season, extending their club record. Before this season, the Tigers record for consecutive games with at least one home run to start a season was seven in 2014.