The Indians all but burried the Tigers’ post-season plans with 4 homes runs, and a 7-4 victory on Tuesday night.
Ryan Garko hit the first one, a solo shot in the 2nd. Hafner’s 3-run blast in the 3rd tied the game, and Victor put the Tribe up for good in the 6th. Just for good measure, Franklin Gutierrez hit a 2 run insurance shot later that same inning.
Westbrook started the game, and didn’t have his best outing. Jake missed the strike zone a lot, though he finished with just 2 walks. One of those walks came with the bases loaded. Despite having to battle, Westbrook went 5 innings. He left the game with a tie, which is all you can ask when a guy doesn’t have his best stuff. Verlander gave up all 4 homers, which matched the total number of dingers he had given up in his last 12 outings. The Indians didn’t get many more hits, but they made the best of the mistakes Verlander made.
The Indians reduced their magic number again to only 5 games. But that is merely a formality at this point. With wins in the first two games of the series the Tribe has put too much distance between them for the Tigers to even think about the division. With another win by the Yankees tonight, the Indians can effectively sweep the Tigers clean out of the playoffs tomorrow. Detroit sits 4.5 games out of the Wild Card as of tonight, and with the way the Yanks are playing it is not likely they will be able to catch them, particularly if they lose ground again tomorrow.
The Indians meanwhile gained another game on the Red Sox, and now sit a mere half game out of the top slot in the A.L. playoffs. I can’t overestimate how important it could become to have home field advantage throughout the play-offs. Just keep winning boys. Stay focused.
Jensen Lewis pitched 3 innings for his first major league victory, and got a pie for his trouble. Borowski pitched the ninth for his 41st save. It was his first save since September 4th.