CLEVELAND (AP) — Tyler Naquin started Cleveland’s comeback with a home run and ended Detroit’s with a game-saving defensive play.
Naquin made a diving catch in right field to start an incredible double play in the ninth inning, and the Indians hung on for a 7-6 win over the Tigers on Friday night.
Detroit had already scored a run off closer Brad Hand to cut the lead to one and had a runner on first with nobody out. Naquin raced toward the gap and came up with a backhand grab of Nicholas Castellanos’ sinking liner.
Naquin then jumped to his feet and threw to first to double off Christin Stewart.
“It’s a rush,” Naquin said. “It happened quick. Especially in that atmosphere, it’s a good atmosphere to be able to make that play.”
Naquin, who homered in the fifth with Cleveland down 5-2, credited teammates for alerting him that Stewart was rushing back to first.
“When I looked up, I could just see all those guys telling me and I just did what they told me,” he said. “That’s part of the teamwork that makes that play happen.”
The crowd of 30,717 roared after the play. Miguel Cabrera popped out to end it, giving Hand his 21st save in 21 opportunities. Adam Cimber (3-2) retired two batters on six pitches in the eighth.
“I guess you can say that took the wind out of our tires,” said Castellanos, who thought he had kept the rally going and possibly tied the game.
Hand feared the worst when Castellanos made contact.
“Off the bat I thought it was in the gap,” Hand said. “He kind of came out of nowhere. That’s the tying run on first base and nobody out. To be able to get two out of that play was pretty unbelievable.”
Cleveland took a 7-5 lead on a triple by Jason Kipnis — a hit that was initially ruled a home run before the call was overturned — and a sacrifice fly by Jason Bauers.
José Ramírez led off the eighth with a bunt single off Joe Jiménez (2-5). Kipnis drove a 3-2 pitch to center, and Jones attempted to make a leaping catch, but the ball bounced back into the field of play. Jones retrieved the ball and the Tigers relayed it to the infield, but second base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled it a home run.
Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire challenged, and replays showed the ball hit the yellow line atop the fence. After a review of 2 minutes, 17 seconds, Ramírez, who was running on the pitch, was awarded home plate and Kipnis was given a triple.
Cleveland rallied from a 5-2 deficit after Trevor Bauer was pulled without retiring a batter in the fifth, his shortest outing of the season.
Naquin homered to start the fifth, and Jordan Luplow began Cleveland’s tying rally in the sixth with a home run. Roberto Pérez’s RBI single tied the game.
Bauer dominated the Tigers on Sunday, allowing four hits in the first complete-game shutout of his career, but the right-hander gave up five runs and 10 hits Friday.
Santana hit a two-run homer in the first, but the Tigers struck quickly against Bauer. Brandon Dixon homered in the second and Castellanos tied the game in the third with an RBI double. Gordon Beckham had a run-scoring double in the fourth.
Stewart homered to lead off the fifth. The next two hitters reached base and Niko Goodrum’s RBI double ended Bauer’s night after 91 pitches.
Detroit starter Matthew Boyd allowed five runs in six innings.
Tigers: SS Jordy Mercer (strained right quadriceps) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Saturday.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (sprained left ankle) was placed on the 10-day injured list, but expects to return during a three-game series at Baltimore starting June 28. … RHP Corey Kluber (broken arm) will be examined by doctors next week to determine the next step in his rehabilitation. He was hit by a line drive May 1.
Indians manager Terry Francona understood the importance of Naquin’s play
“If that ball gets by him, we probably lose,” he said. “It’s like he willed himself and then he had the presence of mind to come up and make a strong, accurate throw.”
Said Gardenhire: “It took one of the better catches you’ll see in a long, long time to stop our rally.”
Tigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull (3-6, 3.27 ERA) seeks his first career win over the Indians.
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make his major league debut in place of Clevinger. Civale is 5-0 over seven starts this season, split between the Clippers and Double-A Akron.
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