Verlander pitches Tigers to 10th straight win

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Updated: August 7, 2013

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.

Game Notes

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.