DETROIT, Mich. – Jose Ramirez homered to cap Cleveland’s four-run rally in the sixth inning, and the Indians earned a split of Saturday’s doubleheader against Detroit, beating the Tigers 4-1 in the nightcap.
The Tigers won the opener 7-4 and led 1-0 in the second game before the Indians broke through against Jordan Zimmermann (5-6). The right-hander had allowed one hit through five innings, but he didn’t make it through the sixth.
After tying the game on Michael Brantley’s RBI groundout, the Indians went ahead when Edwin Encarnacion’s flare dropped into right field for a run-scoring single.
Ramirez then connected for a two-run shot, his 13th homer of the year.
Carlos Carrasco (9-3) allowed a run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Cody Allen pitched the eighth, and Andrew Miller worked a perfect ninth for his second save.
Cleveland rookie Bradley Zimmer made a spectacular catch in the ninth, diving for a backhanded grab in left-center field on Mikie Mahtook’s drive.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the second when Mahtook hit a checked-swing single to drive in a run.
In the fourth, Detroit’s Jose Iglesias was hit in the left arm by one of Carrasco’s pitches, and the following inning, Zimmermann threw a pitch that grazed Carlos Santana as it sailed behind the Cleveland hitter. Santana gestured toward the mound, and the benches and bullpens slowly began to empty before order was quickly restored.
In the sixth, Roberto Perez led off with a single and Jason Kipnis followed with a double. One out later, Brantley tied it with his grounder, and Encarnacion’s single barely made it over first baseman Miguel Cabrera into shallow right, giving the Indians a 2-1 advantage.
Ramirez’s drive to right made it 4-1 and chased Zimmermann.
In the opening game, Cleveland scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie it at 4 before the Tigers answered with three in their half. With one out and J.D. Martinez on first, Nicholas Castellanos hit his fifth triple of the season off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center to put Detroit back in front.
Bryan Shaw (2-3) intentionally walked Victor Martinez, putting runners at the corners, but Mahtook flared an RBI single to left to make it 6-4. James McCann’s single brought home Victor Martinez to give Detroit a three-run lead.
Shane Greene (2-2) got the win for the Tigers, and Justin Wilson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Tigers: LF Justin Upton was a late scratch before the opener with right side soreness and ended up missing the whole doubleheader.
BUILDING OFF HIS FASTBALL
Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, who pitched so poorly he was sent to the minors earlier this season, allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings in the opener. He has a 3.12 ERA in three starts since his month at Triple-A.
Sanchez said his improved fastball command lets him use his “butterfly” pitches — a curveball that comes in around 75 mph and a slow changeup that can drop as low as 64 mph.
He joked that his pitches are drawing attention from the commissioner’s office.
“I got drug tested the other day,” Sanchez said. “They said my pitches were too slow.”
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (3-3) takes the mound for the series finale at Detroit on Sunday.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (5-4) makes his 51st start against Cleveland. He’s faced the Indians more than any opponent in his career, going 20-22 with a 4.63 ERA against them.