Verlander pitches Tigers to 10th straight win
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Justin Verlander threw eight dominant innings, Don Kelly belted a three-run homer and the Detroit Tigers registered their 10th consecutive victory with a 5-1 decision over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Verlander (12-8) surrendered four hits -- just one of which came after the second inning -- and struck out seven without a walk in leading Detroit to its first double-digit winning streak since a 12-game tear in September of 2011.
Kelly supplied the offense with a 3-for-4 performance and Miguel Cabrera aided the cause with a pair of hits that included an RBI double.
"Every game is important, especially when you're playing the team that's right behind you in the standings," Kelly said. "Just to come in here and be able to get the first two is big."
All five Detroit runs came in the fifth inning against Justin Masterson (13-8), who lasted seven frames and allowed seven hits while fanning six.
Michael Bourn had two of Cleveland's four hits as the Tribe failed to bounce back from a tough 4-2 loss in Monday's opener of this key four-game series, in which the Tigers overcame a 2-0 deficit with a four-run ninth to end the Indians' 11-game home win streak.
Tuesday's setback dropped Cleveland five games off Detroit's lead atop the AL Central.
Detroit couldn't score on a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in the second inning as Masterson came up with a couple of key strikeouts, but was able to cash in on its next good chance when down 1-0 in the top of the fifth.
Masterson began the frame by hitting Ramon Santiago, who raced to third on an Austin Jackson single before touching home with the tying run on Torii Hunter's fielder's choice grounder. Cabrera then crushed a first-pitch fastball off the high wall in center for a double that brought in Hunter from first.
The Tigers later had two men aboard after Victor Martinez was struck in the foot by a slider. Kelly, a .458 career hitter against Masterson, followed with a deep drive into the seats in right to stake Detroit to a 5-1 lead.
Cleveland's lone run came in the bottom of the second, with Asdrubal Cabrera leading off with a double in front of Michael Brantley's single. Cabrera ended up thrown out at the plate on a grounder off the bat of Santana, but Brantley reached third on the resulting rundown and crossed the plate on a Ryan Raburn groundout.
Those two outs began a stretch of 12 consecutive batters retired by Verlander, who faced just one more threat over the remainder of his outing. Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch to open Cleveland's half of the sixth and Bourn singled to put two on with none out. The two advanced on a fly ball and stolen base, respectively, but were left stranded after Verlander struck out Jason Kipnis and got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out.
"We had a couple of chances and he seemed to find another gear tonight that we unfortunately have seen in the past," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Indians didn't manage a baserunner the rest of the way, with Jose Veras tossing a 1-2-3 ninth upon relieving Verlander.
Kelly is now 11-for-24 with two homers and eight RBI lifetime against Masterson ... The Tigers improved to 11-3 in this year's season series with the Indians, which includes a 7-1 mark at Progressive Field, and have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the clubs ... Masterson has lost all three of his starts versus Detroit this season and has a 7.23 ERA in those games ... Cleveland's Corey Kluber, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Monday's game but was left with a no-decision, was placed on the 15-day disabled list after spraining his right finger during the opener ... The Indians are 8-5 when facing a former Cy Young winner this season, but three of those losses have come to Verlander.
08/07 00:01:28 ET