Ian Kinsler's three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth lifted the Detroit Tigers to a 7-5 win over the Indians.
The Cleveland Indians held a two-run lead over the Detroit Tigers heading into the bottom of the fifth inning at Comerica Park, but starting pitcher Danny Salazar could not hold the Tiger bats at bay.
Salazar gave up four runs in the inning, which helped the Tigers post a 7-5 victory over the Indians in a matinee in the Motor City.
"It was a big shutdown inning for us," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We get on the board and take the lead and they've got the bottom of the lineup coming up and the two walks to start the inning. It's not necessarily bad walking some of their hitters. You've just got to walk the right ones, not turn the lineup over and get those big boys. That really hurt us.
"I thought he was varying all day, from 88 to about 95. He threw a 3-2 breaking ball to Avila to start the inning. He threw it in the dirt and then, lost the strike zone a little bit. I think he's just trying to throw a strike."
Salazar started the bottom of the fifth inning by walking catcher Alex Avila and shortstop Alex Gonzalez, the Nos. 7 and 8 hitters in the lineup, before getting left fielder Rajai Davis to pop out to Carlos Santana at third base.
However, with two on and one out, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler stepped into the batter's box and belted a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left-center field for a three-run home run.
"The pitch to Kinsler, he fell behind, 3-1, and threw him a pretty good pitch to hit," Francona said. "He wasn't trying to throw it there, but I just think he lost the strike zone a little bit.
"I don't know if discouraging is the right word. We all see what Danny can do, and we believe that he will do it. With youth, sometimes, it doesn't happen as fast as you want it. You want it to happen right now, but he'll be alright."
In addition to Salazar's struggles on the mound, the Indians' defense had problems of their own.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, relief pitcher C.C. Lee committed a throwing error while trying to pick off Davis at first. He was able to move to third base and then, came around to score on Kinsler's RBI single to center field.
Later in the game, the Tigers added an insurance run when Davis drove in Andrew Romine with a single past second baseman Mike Aviles, who was in the game after Jason Kipnis got ejected for commenting on the home plate umpire's strike zone.
Romine reached scoring position when Indians catcher Yan Gomes threw the ball into center field while trying to catch him stealing second base. The error allowed Romine to advance to third base.
"I'd love to play clean baseball, but Gomer rushed the throw and C.C., the ball was in his glove and he kind of whipped it over to first," Francona said. "That's the game sometimes. Obviously, the cleaner you play, the better."
The early struggles of Salazar and defensive miscues came on a day when Cleveland's bats got to Detroit ace Justin Verlander.
Prior to the game, Francona said the Indians had to make Verlander work, and they did, as he lasted only five innings and allowed three runs, six hits and four walks on the mound.
"We made him work from the first hitter of the game, and if you can get him out after five, you're feeling like you've got a pretty good chance to win, and we did," Francona said. "We just couldn't stop them."