A 10th inning RBI double from Miguel Cabrera led the Detroit Tigers (39-32) to their third straight win, and second in a row over the Cleveland Indians (37-38) on Saturday night at Progressive Field.
Justin Verlander (6-7, 4.73 ERA) got the start for the Tigers and registered a no decision. However, Verlander looked as close to his old self as he has all season, pitching seven strong innings while giving up four hits, two runs (one earned), and striking out eight.
Entering Saturday's game, Verlander had unprecedented struggles, having been hit for an 0-3 record with a 9.39 ERA over his last three starts.
A 2-2 tie was broken in the top of the 7th inning after Rajai Davis (5) and Ian Kinsler (8) bashed back-to-back home runs to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead heading into the home half.
After the Indians pulled to within a run in the bottom of the 8th, Joe Nathan was brought in from the Tigers' bullpen in an attempt to register a save.
Nathan whiffed the first two Indians' batters he faced, but gave up three consecutive two-strike singles, and blew his fifth save of the season-- second most in the MLB-- sending the game to extra innings tied at 4.
The run given up in the 9th was the Tigers' MLB-worst 50th run allowed in the 9th inning this season.
Ian Kinsler hit a two-strike leadoff single for the Tigers in the top of the 10th, and was moved to second on an Austin Jackson sacrifice bunt. While in scoring position, Kinsler was driven home by Miguel Cabrera, who roped his AL-leading 25th double off the left center wall to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.
Phil Coke entered in the bottom of the 10th, striking out the side for his first save of the year, while Nathan (4-2) was credited with both a blown save and a win.
The win was the third straight for the Tigers, and gives them a 1.5 game lead over the Royals for first place in the AL Central.
They look to complete the sweep in Cleveland tomorrow at 1:05 on AM 590 WKZO.