Austin Jackson, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta all hit home runs to give Max Scherzer all the help he would need in a 4-1 Detroit victory over Cleveland.
Scherzer (13-7) pitched 7 solid innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out six. The lone run came on a bad call by umpire Joe West. More on that later.
The game was scoreless until Jackson bombed a two-run shot to left-center field in the sixth inning to provide what turned out to be the winning runs. The Tigers’ win pushed their AL Central lead over the Indians back to 2 1/2 games to start the crucial series.
Cleveland got one back in the top of the seventh courtesy of West. Indians catcher Carlos Santana led off the inning with a single, but Scherzer struck out the next two batters and appeared on his way to striking out the side. However, West blew a pretty obvious strike three call to Lonnie Chisenhall, who promptly hit an infield single to keep the inning going. Scherzer threw a wild pitch that scored Santana, but got the final out without further damage.
It wouldn’t matter in the end however, as Avila and Peralta hit back-to-back homers in the eighth to extend the lead to 4-1. Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde finished off the game, with Valverde converting his 36th consecutive save.