DETROIT (AP) — Terry Francona could only watch as the ball sailed toward shallow right field. Jordan Luplow was either going to make the catch and win the game for Cleveland, or Detroit was going to score a run or two.
“It’s like your stomach’s in your throat,” Francona said. “You kind of figure the game’s going to be over one way or the other.”
Luplow made a diving catch on Eric Haase’s sinking liner with the bases loaded, preserving a 6-5 victory for the Indians over the Tigers on Monday night. Luplow, who entered as a defensive replacement an inning earlier, made the clutch grab for the final out to help closer Emmanuel Clase escape with his eighth save in nine chances.
“That’s as close as you can come to losing without losing,” said Francona, who won his 698th game as Cleveland’s manager. “It was fun, but when I say fun it was agonizingly fun.”
Spencer Turnbull allowed three runs in six innings for Detroit in his first game since pitching a no-hitter last week. It was the bullpen and some sloppy defense that cost the Tigers. Cleveland scored three unearned runs in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead, and although Willi Castro hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, Detroit was unable to come all the way back.
Owen Miller scored twice for Cleveland without hitting the ball out of the infield. He led off the seventh by reaching on an error by third baseman Jeimer Candelario. The Indians eventually loaded the bases, and with two outs and José Ramírez batting, Bryan Garcia (0-1) threw a wild pitch that scored Miller and put Cleveland up 4-3.
Ramírez walked, and Eddie Rosario‘s bases-loaded single off Daniel Norris brought home two more runs.
Jean Carlos Mejía (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for his first major league win. Three more Cleveland relievers succeeded him, with Clase working out of trouble in the ninth. Luplow made the final play look easy, casually flipping the ball from his glove to his throwing hand after making the catch.
“Gave ourselves a chance in the eighth, gave ourselves a chance in the ninth,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “We just came up, it looked like about six inches short of that ball bouncing in front of Luplow.”
Turnbull, who no-hit Seattle on Tuesday night, allowed a single by Rosario to start the second. Cleveland put the leadoff man on five times in six innings against Turnbull, but three times that runner was erased immediately on a double play.
“It’s definitely not the easiest thing, following up a no-hitter,” Turnbull said. “Hopefully this is a more normal week — won’t go two or three days without sleep. … Continuing to enjoy it, but I don’t think it carries over after this week.”
Castro put the Tigers up 1-0 with an RBI double in the second, and Robbie Grossman followed with a sacrifice fly.
Miller led off the third with an infield single for his first big league hit. He scored on René Rivera’s single, and the Indians got another run when Cesar Hernandez bounced into a forceout.
Nomar Mazara put the Tigers back ahead with an RBI single in the third. Cleveland tied it in the sixth when Harold Ramirez drove in a run with a two-out infield single.
Cleveland starter Sam Hentges allowed three runs in five innings.
Candelario reached base for a 20th straight game, and Grossman extended his streak to 18.
RIGHT AT HOME
Jake Bauers had three hits for the Indians, another big game for him at Comerica Park, where he hit for the cycle in 2019.
“Just kind of see the ball well here,” Bauers said. “You always kind of run into places like that.”
Tigers: Detroit put C Wilson Ramos (lumbar spine strain) on the 10-day injured list and reinstated LHP Derek Holland (left shoulder strain) from the IL. The Tigers also optioned OF JaCoby Jones to Triple-A Toledo and recalled OF Victor Reyes from Toledo.
Detroit sends LHP Tarik Skubal (1-6) to the mound Tuesday night against Cleveland’s Aaron Civale (6-1).
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