DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers are leaving the Motor City on a roll. Their manager, Jim Leyland, refuses to get too excited about it.
Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Raburn hit back-to-back solo homers in the fourth inning, and Detroit went on to beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2, on Thursday.
The Tigers, who won twice in the three-game series to move one game ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central, have won 13 of their past 18 games.
“We’ve got a little something going,” Leyland said. “But it’s such a long grind. I don’t get carried away.”
Victor Martinez isn’t ready to make postseason plans, either, but he’s enjoying the team’s surge in the standings.
“It’s always exciting when you win,” Martinez said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s April, May, June, August or September.”
On May 23, the Indians had a seven-game lead in the division after winning twice as many as they had lost. But Cleveland has collapsed, with 16 losses in its last 22 games.
“I’m definitely excited that we’re playing well,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. “We’re just trying to keep that up.”
Max Scherzer (9-3) gave up two runs – both in the first – and four hits over 52/3 innings.
“That first inning, he made some mistakes and they hit the ball hard,” Avila said. “After that, he settled in.”
Michael Brantley hit a two-out triple and scored on Raburn’s errant relay throw. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double and scored on Shin-Soo Choo’s triple to put Cleveland up 2-0 in the first inning.
But Austin Jackson led off the bottom half of the first with a walk, stole second and scored on Don Kelly’s RBI single. Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-all.
With two outs in the fourth, Peralta and Raburn hit homers to put Detroit ahead for good.