It was not easy, but the Cleveland Indians fought their way to a 3-2 victory against a team they struggled against all of last season, the Detroit Tigers, at Comerica Park on Wednesday night.
Down by two runs heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Tigers mounted a rally after left fielder Rajai Davis reached on Jason Kipnis' fielding error at second base. Then, Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler dropped down a bunt single that was upheld by a replay review.
Despite Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter grounding into a double play, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera drove in Davis when he singled to left field.
The Indians began the game strong, as the first three hitters, center fielder Michael Bourn, first baseman Nick Swisher and Kipnis, all reached base on walks, but the potential big inning was quickly thwarted.
Designated hitter Carlos Santana worked the count to 2-1, but grounded an Anibal Sanchez changeup to shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez quickly flipped the baseball over to Kinsler for the force and the relay beat Santana to first base for a double play.
The Tigers added one run of their own in the bottom half of the first inning, as Cabrera drove home Kinsler when he grounded out to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Kinsler doubled to start the inning.
The Indians would respond once more, as catcher Yan Gomes continued his hot offensive start to the season when he drove in Cabrera and right fielder David Murphy with a triple to right field. Cabrera reached on a fielding error to start the inning, and Murphy got aboard when he took a four-seam fastball out of the strike zone on a 3-1 count.
And when the Indians gave him a lead, starting pitcher Zach McAllister settled in and found his rhythm.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound right hander allowed only four hits and the one earned run over the next five innings of work. He struck out four hitters and allowed two walks over the remainder of his outing.
Of McAllister's 97 pitches, 66 were strikes.
"I was able to make the adjustments from a previous start, get the ball down and was able to carry that over today," McAllister said. "I made some pretty good pitches when I needed to, and had some very good defense behind me.
"Especially last year, there were times when usually, those guys from Detroit jumped on me and put something together (in the middle innings). My curveball and changeup, I really had a good feel for those pitches early on. That's one thing I was able to do, make those adjustments later in the game."