Though a nagging injury continues to plague star Miguel Cabrera , Anibal Sanchez 's recent success versus Cleveland could provide the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers with a good chance to pull further away from the second-place Indians.
With or without Cabrera, Sanchez and the Tigers look for a seventh consecutive victory over an Indians team hoping to snap a four-game slide Saturday night at Comerica Park.
Victor Martinez went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Detroit (79-56) used a four-run third to build a 7 1/2-game lead over Cleveland with Friday's 7-2 victory that was stopped after seven innings because of rain.
The immediate concern, though, was Cabrera, who was pulled for a second straight game because of irritation in his abdominal area."I don't feel very good," said Cabrera, who leads the majors with 130 RBIs, a .358 average and is second with 43 homers. "I don't want to be specific. I don't feel 100 percent."
Manager Jim Leyland is not sure about Cabrera's status for Saturday."All I can tell you is when you pull a guy out one night, normally he doesn't start the next day," he said. "I don't have any idea. I don't really know. I just have to play it by ear, see what happens."
Even if Cabrera can't go, Cleveland has plenty of concerns in this matchup. The Tigers have won 13 of 14 against the Indians (71-63), outscoring them 91-46."We're all aware of what our record is," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona . "We don't go into any game not thinking we're going to win. The reason they're beating us is they're good."
Martinez has been great lately, going 15 for 24 with five RBIs and no strikeouts in six games. He's hit .457 with 11 RBIs in his last 12 against the Indians.
Owner of the AL's lowest ERA, Sanchez (11-7, 2.61 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his last five versus Cleveland. He's 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA this season in two road starts versus Cleveland.
Though the right-hander has a 2.05 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break, he hopes for a better effort after allowing four runs and walking three in five innings of an 8-6 loss to Oakland on Monday.
"He was just totally out of sync for whatever reason," Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "Certainly you're allowed to have those. He's been absolutely fantastic. That's one of those games where it just wasn't his day."
Nick Swisher had two hits for the Indians, who have totaled 12 runs during a four-game losing streak at Comerica Park.
All-Star Jason Kipnis is batting .158 in his last 10 games, and is 0 for 5 with two strikeouts versus Sanchez this season.
After giving up 10 runs in eight innings to lose two straight starts, Scott Kazmir (7-6, 4.25) yielded a run and struck out eight in six innings in Cleveland's 3-1 win at Minnesota on Sunday.
"I felt fresh out there," Kazmir told the Indians' official website. "I felt like I was able to kick it up a little bit and just throw quality pitches. That was my main goal."
The left-hander allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-2, 10-inning loss to Detroit on July 8.
Martinez is 9 for 18 with a homer and three doubles lifetime against Kazmir.
|August 30, 2013||Scott Barnes||60-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|August 28, 2013||Cord Phelps||60-Day DL||Right wrist inflammation|
|August 19, 2013||Ryan Raburn||15-Day DL||Strained left Achilles|
|August 06, 2013||Corey Kluber||15-Day DL||Sprained finger, right hand|
|July 20, 2013||Corey Kluber||Day-to-Day||Left hip tightness|
|June 04, 2013||Asdrubal Cabrera||15-Day DL||Right quadriceps strain|
|August 24, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|August 17, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back stiffness|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 31, 2013||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Strained lower abdomen|
|July 31, 2013||Luis Marte||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
DETROIT (AP) -- Omar Infante put on a power display that was more like his teammate Miguel Cabrera .
Infante homered twice and drove in five runs and the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 10-5 on Saturday.
The Tigers stretched their lead in the AL Central to 8 1/2 games over the second-place Indians.
The Tigers were without Cabrera due to irritation of the abdominal area.
The slugger left the two previous games early and has been hampered by a strained left abdominal for more than a month. He is day to day.
"Cabrera's huge. Everybody knows Cabrera's a good hitter and we're better with him in the lineup," Infante said. "But we've got a good team, we've got good hitting, we've got everything, good starters. We're a great team. We've got everything."
Infante hit a three-run homer in the second and added a two-run shot in the sixth for Detroit, which has beaten Cleveland seven in a row and 18 of the past 22.
"The first one was a slider. I was trying to make contact, the slider stayed, hanging, and I made good contact," said Infante, who homered off Indians starter Scott Kazmir and reliever Bryan Shaw .
"I've been trying in BP, try to hit line drives. Sometimes I make a lot of fly balls. Try to work with my top hand, that's helped me a lot.
"The second one was a good cutter, he threw a good pitch. That's why I say I'm working my top hand and try to hit line drives."
Yan Gomes homered in the seventh and Carlos Santana added a two-run inside-the park home run for the Indians, who lost their fifth straight.
Cleveland outfielder Nick Swisher tried to explain the team's struggles against Detroit.
"Sometimes a team got your number," he said. "Just got to take it on the chin and keep moving. Keep fighting, that's all we can do."
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez (12-7) got the win. He allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out five.
Sanchez was replaced by Drew Smyly after Gomes' home run with two outs in the seventh made it 6-3.
Smyly got the final out and Jose Veras pitched the eighth, allowing Santana's inside-the park, two-run homer to make it 6-5.
Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson tried to catch Santana's drive to the wall by leaping as he raced back.
He got his glove on the ball, but it came out as his arm hit the wall. Jackson slumped to the ground, appearing to favor his glove arm. Santana circled the bases for his 17th homer.
Jason Kipnis , who had doubled, also scored.
Jackson remained in the game after Detroit trainer Kevin Rand and manager Jim Leyland came out to check on him.
"Just kind of jammed my shoulder a bit and knocked the wind out of me a little bit." Jackson said. "Once I caught my wind, I was all right."
Detroit increased its lead with four runs in the eighth on Jackson's two-run triple, Jose Iglesias ' squeeze sacrifice bunt and Prince Fielder 's run-scoring double.
"They kept coming at us," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We fought back, which was good to see, but they just kept scoring."
Cleveland relievers Matt Albers and Cody Allen each allowed two runs in one-third of an inning in the eighth.
Kazmir (7-7) gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
Notes: Outfielder-DH Jason Kubel , who was acquired from Arizona on Friday, joined Cleveland on Saturday. To make room for Kubel on the roster, the Indians optioned right-hander Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus. He will be recalled on Tuesday. ... Detroit recalled the contracts of left-hander Phil Coke and infielder Hernan Perez from Triple-A Toledo and sent right-hander Jeremy Bonderman to the same team. The Tigers also optioned right-hander Luke Putkonen to Class A Lakeland. Bonderman will be recalled to Detroit on Tuesday and Putkonen will return to the major league team on Monday. ... Sunday afternoon's series finale will feature Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.73) for the Tigers against Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.67) for the Indians.