Gomes injured as Indians outlasted 9-6 by Tigers
CLEVELAND (AP) — On a day when Indians fans discovered an unlikely star, one of Cleveland’s most proven players had to be carried off the field.
In an instant, the fun got real serious.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes sprained his right knee while blocking the plate in the ninth inning and Cleveland dropped its second straight at home, 9-6 to the unbeaten Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.
With the Tigers leading 6-5, Gomes’ leg was struck by sliding Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis as he kept his foot on the plate for a force. Davis slid hard through the catcher’s leg, and Gomes remained on the ground for several minutes. He did not put any weight on his leg as he was helped off.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Gomes will undergo further tests, including an MRI, on Sunday. Francona did not think Davis made a dirty play.
“Gomer was just trying to hang on to the plate and it looked to me like he (Davis) just clipped his heel and that kind of turned his knee,” Francona said.
Gomes blossomed into one of the AL’s best catchers last season, when he batted .278 with 21 homers and 74 RBIs. He also played exceptional defense and anchored the league’s youngest starting staff.
Indians reliever Cody Allen (0-1), who gave up Ian Kinsler’s RBI single and a two-run double to Yoenis Cespedes in the ninth, said it was difficult to see Gomes go down.
“It’s always tough to see a teammate carried off, especially Yan,” Allen said. “He means so much to us. We hope he’s OK.”
The Tigers were able to overcome starter David Price’s throwing error, an injury to Victor Martinez and the arrival of Indians outfielder Jerry Sands, who drove in four runs with a pair of two-run, two-out doubles.
With the Indians four outs from another loss, Sands, serenaded by Cleveland fans with chants of “Jer-ry, Jer-ry,” delivered his second double to tie it at 5. Sands, recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Friday, gave Cleveland a 3-2 lead in the sixth with a two-run double before the Tigers scored three times in the seventh.
Not long after the Indians fans began chanting his name, the scoreboard in Progressive Field lit up with “JERRY,” a potential future star for the Indians. He received several standing ovations and Cleveland’s dugout erupted after both his big hits.
“That was really something,” Francona said. “I wish we were sitting here on a comeback win, but it still doesn’t diminish what he did. That was pretty neat.”
Sands, who also played for the Dodgers and Tampa Bay, said the chants were nothing new.
“It was fun,” he said. “It started in A-ball actually, and then I got it in Dodger Stadium as well. It gets the fans going, obviously. Sometimes they start the cheering, and not that it’s not warranted, but whether I do something special or not special, regardless they start it. But it’s always fun for them to get into the game and obviously a chant is always fun. ”
Cy Young winners Price and Corey Kluber both pitched well enough to win, but came away with no-decisions.
Price didn’t allow an earned run in 5 2-3 innings, and may have cost himself his second win with a throwing error in the sixth, when the Indians took the lead and chased the left-hander.
Kluber gave up a leadoff homer to Anthony Gose on his second pitch in the first, but the right-hander found his groove and finished with 10 strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
“It really came down to executing a little better,” Kluber said. “After the first inning, I consistently made better pitches.”
The Indians were without All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley, who missed his third game with a troublesome back. Brantley will likely sit out the series finale as well.
CY AND THE SPITTER
Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, best known for confounding hitters — and umpires — by throwing a spitball during his career, threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday to Kluber. Perry also presented Kluber with his Cy Young plaque.
“I told Corey these things are hard to get, protect it,” Perry said in his distinct southern drawl. “Gitcha another one.”
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (strained right triceps) will throw a 40-pitch bullpen session Sunday. The former Cy Young winner is on the disabled list for the first time in his 11-year career.
Indians: LHP Marc Rzepczynski pitched despite being struck on the foot by a grounder Friday. He gave up two runs without recording an out.
Tigers: Rookie LHP Kyle Lobstein makes his second career start at Progressive Field, where he struck out 10 in a no-decision Sept. 2.
Indians: LHP T.J. House, who went 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA against AL Central teams last year, makes his season debut after winning a job in the opening-day rotation during training camp.