The Cleveland Indians have kept the Detroit Tigers under their thumb dating back to the start of the 2016 season.
The host Indians aim to tame the Tigers once again on Saturday night when the American League Central rivals play the second contest of their three-game series.
Cleveland posted a 6-1 win in the series opener Friday, marking its ninth victory in 14 meetings against Detroit this season and 74th in 99 contests dating back to the start of the 2016 campaign.
Myles Straw highlighted his three-hit performance with a pair of RBI singles on Friday. Straw has hit safely in five of seven games since being acquired from the Houston Astros on July 31.
No. 9 batter Ernie Clement matched Straw with three hits and also scored twice on Friday. The 25-year-old admitted that increased playing time has aided in his comfortability on the diamond.
“It’s great. You can kinda get into a groove once you get in there,” Clement told Bally Sports Cleveland. “My teammates around me have been awesome, encouraging me, telling me to play my game, so it’s really cool.”
Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale credited Clement’s sterling defensive play in the third inning, as the third baseman made an off-balance throw across the field on Derek Hill’s grounder.
“He comes up with a play once a game,” Hale said. “He’s athletic and he can make those type of plays. I still wanna harness and hopefully he can harness some of those sidearm throws.”
All was not rosy for the Indians, who saw first baseman Bobby Bradley sustain a left knee injury during the series opener.
“Right now, they say it’s a contusion, so hopefully it’s nothing major and see how he wakes up in the morning,” Hale said postgame.
Bradley had a two-run double to highlight Cleveland’s four-run third inning. He is 6-for-13 with four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers) and four RBIs against Detroit this season.
Indians rookie right-hander Eli Morgan (1-3, 6.75 ERA) will make his ninth career start when he takes the mound on Saturday.
Morgan, 25, was victorious in his lone career encounter with Detroit despite allowing four runs on six hits — including two homers — in five innings of a 13-5 win on June 28. One of the homers was belted by Miguel Cabrera, who has gone deep 498 times in his decorated career.
Cabrera went 1-for-3 with a walk on Friday. The two-time AL MVP and 11-time All-Star is expected to play on Saturday before getting the day off in the series finale.
Detroit’s Jeimer Candelario had an RBI single in the ninth inning in the series opener. He is batting .357 (15-for-42) with seven RBIs during his 11-game on-base streak.
Candelario’s offense came far too late for the Tigers, who were chasing the game against starter Cal Quantrill, who struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings.
“They got ahead 4-0 and 6-0 and (Quantrill) got to dictate the game. He dominated,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
Tigers left-hander Tyler Alexander (1-1, 4.77 ERA) will make his 31st appearance and seventh start this season on Saturday.
Alexander, 27, is 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in seven career relief appearances versus Cleveland.
–Field Level Media
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