Indians swept at home, lose 8-5 to Tigers, Gomes out 6 weeks
CLEVELAND (AP) — This was supposed to be a three-day celebration, the rebirth of Progressive Field and start of a special season at home for the Indians.
Those dudes from Detroit had other plans.
The Indians were swept and overwhelmed this weekend by the Tigers, who finished off Cleveland with an 8-5 win on Sunday to stay unbeaten.
Miguel Cabrera did what he always does to Cleveland, homering twice and driving in four runs as the Tigers moved to 6-0 for the first time since 1985. Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning off T.J. House (0-1) and J.D. Martinez added an insurance solo shot in the ninth as the Tigers improved to 18-5 in Cleveland since 2013.
The Indians had a rough opening in their spectacularly remodeled ballpark. In addition to being swept by the AL Central’s reigning champions, All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley missed two games with a back issue and Cleveland lost catcher Yan Gomes for at least six weeks with a sprained knee.
“Some things have gone wrong,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
At least the sun shined for three games. The Tigers were nothing but a large, dark could.
Cabrera went 4 for 4 with his first two homers of the season, a double and single. Needing a triple for the cycle, Francona intentionally walked him in the eighth even though there was a runner on first.
Francona considered walking Cabrera earlier in the game, but said the opportunity wasn’t right.
“It’s hard to walk him with bases loaded or first and second with nobody out,” Francona said. “And that’s no disrespect to Victor (Martinez), but anytime we thought we could walk him we were going to, even to the point with a runner on first. But the situations, when you look back, there were just no situations to do that.
“He’s that good a hitter and when he feels that good at the plate, that’s a bad feeling.”
The Indians were feeling down before the game when it was revealed Gomes could be gone for two months with a sprained MCL. It won’t be easy to replace Gomes, the team’s top right-handed power bat and the Indians’ defensive anchor.
Before the game, Brantley and Gomes, hobbling on crutches, went to home plate to receive their Silver Slugger Awards from last season. Their smiles didn’t come easy for photographs.
“I don’t know what was worse, losing three games or losing the two players we did,” Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “I actually do know which one’s worse, but it’s part of the season, every team’s going to go through stuff where some players are going to get nicked up or put on the shelf for a couple days.
“We’ve got some guys who are more than qualified to step in and take up their roles. But it’s hard to replace two Silver Sluggers and two leaders of this team, but I think we’re going to do a pretty good job of trying,” he said.
The Tigers jumped to a 6-0 lead after two innings, roughing up House, who was rocked for six runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings — the shortest outing of his career.
“I didn’t make the pitches I needed to,” he said. “It’s disappointing.”
Cabrera pounds Indians pitching like no one else. He went 11 of 14 (.786) with two homers and six RBIs in the three-game series, and raised his average from .182 to .520. For his career, the slugger is batting .357 with 37 homers — most by any player — and 118 RBIs in 133 games against the Indians, who haven’t figured out a way to even slow him down.
“You’re happy when he singles to right,” Kipnis said.
The Indians have been homerless in all four losses this season. . Dating back to last season, Cleveland has dropped seven straight and 10 of 11 to the Tigers. ... RHP Shaun Marcum relieved House and made his first major league appearance since July 6, 2013, when he was with the Mets. Marcum, who has battled elbow and shoulder injuries, gave up one run in five innings.
Indians: Brantley missed his fourth game with a back issue. Francona said Brantley felt “slightly better” after resting Saturday and believes two more days — the Indians are off Monday — of rest will help. Francona remains hopeful Brantley won’t go on the disabled list, but hasn’t ruled it out.
Indians: After an off-day, RHP Carlos Carrasco starts the opener of a two-game home series with the White Sox. Carrasco struck out 10 in his first start last week, one day after signing a four-year, $22 million contract.