DETROIT -- Indians outfielder Michael Brantley called it "an important road trip."
Tribe right fielder David Murphy didn't think the 11-game, three-city swing through Detroit, Minneapolis and Kansas City was "make or break," but considered it a tone-setter for the second half of the season. The Tigers, Twins and Royals are fellow members of the American League Central Division and the Indians are chasing two of them, which added to the players' emphasis.
That may have given the Indians a little something extra to savor as they rallied from a three-run deficit for a 9-3 victory over the Tigers on Friday before a sellout crowd of 42,255 on Motown Night at Comerica Park.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis hit two home runs in a game for the second time in his career and All-Star Michael Brantley recorded his second four-hit game of the season as the third-place Indians cut the Central-leading Tigers' advantage over them to 6 1/2 games. The Indians (48-47) moved above .500 for the first time since June 19.
In the first game of the trip and the first after the All-Star break, right-hander Trevor Bauer pitched well enough to give the Tribe a chance, but his team was shut out through six innings.
Then in the top of the seventh, the Indians awakened from their slumber like an angry bear shaking off hibernation.
They sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs. Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back home runs, just the second time this season that the Tribe has accomplished that feat. It hadn't happened since April 12 at Chicago against the White Sox, when Nick Swisher and Kipnis went deep.
This time, Kipnis sent Al Alburquerque's 1-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a three-run homer, his fourth of the season.
Cabrera hit the next pitch from Alburquerque into a tunnel in right field for his ninth homer of the year.
Brantley started the rally with a single to center. Carlos Santana walked, prompting a trip to the mound to check on Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus elected to leave in his starter.
Lonnie Chisenhall singled to right to load the bases for Swisher, who came into the game hitting .208 but showed signs of coming out of his slump in the previous 10-game homestand. Swisher singled to right center to drive in two runs and end the night for Sanchez.
Ryan Raburn pinch-hit for Murphy and tied the game with a double to the right-field corner off left-hander Ian Krol. It was Raburn's 500th career hit. Alburquerque came on and struck out Yan Gomes and Chris Dickerson, but the Indians weren't done, thanks to the home runs.
Kipnis added a solo home run to right in the ninth off right-hander Chad Smith. The only other time Kipnis has hit two in a game came on May 26, 2012, at Chicago against the White Sox.
Until the offensive explosion, the sluggish offense and defensive ineptitude that plagued the Tribe before the All-Star break looked to be costly again.
Catcher Gomes was tagged with his 12th error in the fourth inning when he tried to throw out Torii Hunter at third on a steal attempt. Gomes' ball sailed into left field as Hunter scored the Tigers' third run.
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