Cleveland, OH -- The Indians hadn't scored more than three runs in a game in over a week and were faced with the unenviable task of battling Justin Verlander on Thursday.
So, go figure -- Cleveland broke out of its offensive slump in one of its biggest games all season.
Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner hit back-to-back homers in a four-run seventh, and Asdrubal Cabrera singled home the go-ahead run to lead the Indians to a 5-3 victory over Detroit in the rubber match of this three-game set at Progressive Field.
Jason Kipnis had two hits and drove in two runs for the Indians, who have won three of four overall and seven of nine from Detroit this year. The season series with the Tigers is what's kept them alive in the division race, and now the Indians trail Chicago by 3 1/2 games instead of Detroit by five if the Tigers would have won Thursday.
Zach McAllister lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on nine hits and two walks while fanning seven. The vaunted three-headed bullpen monster of Joe Smith (7-2), Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez allowed no runs the rest of the way, with Perez picking up his 29th save.
Verlander (11-6) allowed five earned runs for only the second time this year in a place where he usually struggles. In seven innings, he gave up nine hits and two walks while striking out only four -- only the fourth time in 21 outings he's fanned that few.
In 17 games at Progressive Field, Verlander is 6-10 with a 5.83 ERA.
The Sports Network