Cleveland Indians’ hit 4 homers to down Detroit Tigers, 8-2
By MATT SCHOCH
DETROIT — Now down three key players in the season’s early going, the Cleveland Indians reclaimed their usual spot at the top of the AL Central on Tuesday.
Corey Kluber earned his first win of the season in his third start, powered by four home runs that sent the Indians over the Detroit Tigers 8-2.
The Indians won their fifth in a row, stopped Detroit’s five-game winning streak and retook the lead in a division they’ve won three straight years.
On the day right-hander Mike Clevinger hit the injured list, Kluber (1-2) allowed one earned run over six innings. A two-time Cy Young Award winner who went 20-7 last season, Kluber struck out eight.
“Nobody on the other side of the field is going to feel sorry for you,” Kluber said. “If we get bad news on a guy, then obviously you feel bad for him and you don’t wish that. But when ‘play ball’ comes, let’s go out there and compete against the other team.”
The Indians were already without shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jason Kipnis with right calf strains.
Leonys Martin, Brad Miller, Roberto Perez and Jake Bauers all entered with sub-.200 batting averages before hitting their first homers of the season. Cleveland had hit a total of only four home runs this year before connecting at Comerica Park.
“I know this is a big ballpark but it was not playing that way, the ball was flying,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I thought Kluber did a really good of adding and subtracting. A couple ball they did hit, they hit to the big part of the field.”
Jordan Zimmermann (0-1) gave up four earned runs of the five he allowed and was chased in the fifth inning. He had allowed just one run in 13 2/3 innings in his first two starts.
“I just wasn’t able to get the grip and feeling I’ve had on the last two starts,” Zimmermann said.
He became the first Tigers starter to allow more than three earned runs in a game this season, snapping a streak of 10 games, which tied the 1987 club record.