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(Tuesday, July 24th)
Final Score: Cleveland 3, Detroit 2
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Travis Hafner's unlikely triple led to the game-winning run in the seventh inning, as the Indians squeezed past the Tigers, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game series between the division foes.
Miguel Cabrera momentarily quieted the Progressive Field crowd by hitting a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh, but Hafner, with the benefit of a generous bounce off the left-field wall, legged out a one-out triple in the bottom half.
A well-executed squeeze bunt by Aaron Cunningham allowed pinch-runner Lou Marson to slide in safely ahead of Doug Fister's low throw.
"It was a great call by [Indians manager Manny Acta]," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland of the squeeze play. "That was the run that beat us, so it was a good call by him."
Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez each threw an inning of relief to close out the tight win.
Cabrera's homer off Joe Smith (6-2) spoiled a winning decision for Ubaldo Jimenez, who scattered seven hits and two walks over six scoreless innings.
Nonetheless, the Indians won for the second straight night on the heels of a four-game slide and snapped the AL Central-leading Tigers' five-game winning streak. Detroit, currently tied with the White Sox atop the division, went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
Fister (4-7), a winner in his previous three starts, gave up three runs on nine hits over seven innings to take the loss.
Carlos Santana provided Cleveland with the early lead, first doubling to start the second and scoring on Johnny Damon's single to left-center. In the fourth, Santana knocked in Jason Kipnis with a base hit to right.
Smith relieved Jimenez in the seventh, recorded two quick outs and was ahead in the count, 0-2, against Quintin Berry before throwing four straight balls.
The first two pitches against Cabrera were also off the plate, and the third -- an 89 mph sinker -- was sent over the wall in center field for the slugger's 24th home run of the season.
The Tigers wasted a leadoff hit in five of the first six innings, and saw Delmon Young's single to start the eighth erased when Brennan Boesch bounced into a double play.
In the ninth, Perez retired Omar Infante, Austin Jackson and Berry in succession to notch his 28th save of the season.
"In order for you to beat [the Tigers] you need to keep the bottom of their order off the bases and the top of their order off the bases. It's a tough task," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Cleveland is 6-1 against the Tigers this season....Hafner has two triples this season, his highest total since 2007...Asdrubal Cabrera had three of Cleveland's 10 hits...Hours before the game, the Indians acquired utilityman Brent Lillibridge from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitcher Jose De La Torre...Infante, in his first start since being traded from Miami to Detroit, went 1-for-4.
07/24 23:42:18 ET
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