The Indians were limited to just five hits by Max Scherzer and company while Derek Lowe struggled through six ugly innings as the Indians fell to the Tigers 5-3 to even the series up at one. This was not one of the prettiest games for either team as questionable baserunning, mediocre defense, and a lot of balls led to a game that was as painful to watch as any this season. Casey Kotchman homered in the loss, but the Indians were done in by the top of the Tigers batting order.
The first inning would not be featured on any learn to play baseball video. Both pitchers had difficulty finding the strike zone and both teams made outs on the basepaths. The Tigers led off the game with three straight singles off Derek Lowe to plate the game's first run. For whatever reason, Miguel Cabrera tried to take second on Michael Brantley's throw to third and was retired at second base with a less-than-textbook slide. After Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch, Lowe worked out of trouble and the Indians came to bat.
Max Scherzer was allergic to the strike zone early in the game as well, giving up a walk to leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo. Choo was retired on a strikeout-caught stealing double play when Asdrubal Cabrera swung through a hanging slider. Jason Kipnis got ahead in the count but grounded out.
Lowe continued to fight with his command in the second and his shortshop failed him twice. Alex Avila cranked a double off the center field wall and scored on back-to-back errors from Cabrera. Quentin Berry singled Omar Infante, who had reached on Cabrera's first error, home and the Tribe was down 3-0. They battled back in the third, but it was all the battling that the offense would do. Casey Kotchman homered following a Johnny Damon walk to bring the Indians within one. It's the closest that they would get.
Lowe danced around danger much of the night while Scherzer was rarely in any. Scherzer gave up just three hits in his seven innings of work, striking out eight. The Tigers grabbed insurance runs in the fifth and sixth off Lowe, who, in all honesty, probably should have come out of the game after five innings or during the fifth. He just didn't have it tonight and he had to labor for every out that he got. Lowe walked the bases loaded to lead off the fifth. Prince Fielder hit a sac fly to center. Delmon Young followed with a single to reload the bases. To his credit, Lowe minimized the damage by retiring Brennan Boesch and Jhonny Peralta. Berry picked up another RBI single in the sixth after two men were out. Avila, who led off the inning with a single, advanced on two ground ball outs and then scored.
The Indians could only muster one more run, a Travis Hafner solo home run in the ninth off Jose Valverde. Other than that, their bats were completely silent, as they had been much of the night.
With the loss, the Indians fell back to .500 at 49-49. The Tigers regained the four-game lead that they entered the series with. Max Scherzer picked up the win, moving to 10-5. Derek Lowe took yet another loss, falling to 8-10. Jose Valverde notched save #19.
Stat of the Night: in crunch time, innings seven through nine, 11 Indians batters came to the plate. Combined, they saw 24 pitches.
Player of the Game: Shin-Soo Choo. He doubled in the third and walked twice, the only batter to reach more than once against Tigers pitching.
Tomorrow's Game: The Indians have to face Justin Verlander to try and win the series. They'll look to Zach McAllister to give them a chance. First pitch is at 7:05.