Baseball / Sports

Three home runs send Corey Kluber to early shower in loss to Tigers

CLEVELAND -- Miguel Cabrera's first-inning home run off Corey Kluber seemed like it left the stadium nearly as fast as the sound barrier-breaking fighter jets that were circling over Progressive Field at the beginning of the game.

Just as quickly as the Blue Angels' air show arrived, they were gone.

Kluber wasn't too far behind them.

The Indians' ace endured his shortest outing of the season, lasting just 2 2/3 innings in a 12-1 loss in the first game of a pivotal series against the division rival Detroit Tigers. He allowed five earned runs on seven hits, including a career-high three home runs, with two walks and two strikeouts.

Mike Aviles started in right field for just the third time in his seven-year career. He was immediately put to the test when Tigers leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler hit a slicing line drive down the right-field line. Aviles made an ill-advised attempt at a diving catch, but never really had a chance and the ball skipped passed him, allowing Kinsler to reach third base.

Two batters later, Cabrera continued his domination of Kluber by hitting an absolute laser of a line drive to the home run porch in left field to give the Tigers a quick 2-0 lead. Cabrera entered the game 15-for-28 against Kluber with two doubles and three home runs. His .536 average -- now .552 after going 2-for-2 against Kluber -- is the highest of any player to have batted more than 15 times against Kluber.

In the third inning, Aviles' lack of experience in right field was again put on display, and again the Indians paid for it.

Cabrera swung at the first pitch and hit a sinking line drive to right field, which Aviles misplayed by taking his first step back instead of in. He was unable to make the catch and Cabrera was graciously awarded a single. The next batter, Victor Martinez, hit a no-doubt home run to right field on an 0-2 pitch.

By the fourth inning, Aviles was removed from the game due to what the Indians described as "dizziness."

"His face hit hard on the ground and then he started feeling nauseous," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He didn't really say anything until after the second play. So we took him out, got him evaluated and he passed all his concussion tests, he just kind of has whiplash symptoms. We'll see how he shows up tomorrow."

J.D. Martinez followed with a homer of his own, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead. After Kluber allowed a single to the next batter, his day was done.

The Indians' bullpen didn't fare much better than the starters, allowing a combined seven earned runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Cabrera hit another homer in the eighth. Tyler Collins hit his first career homer in the ninth. When it was all said and done, the Tigers had collected 20 hits.

The Indians' only offense came in the form of a first-inning RBI double by Carlos Santana off the wall in left-center field, scoring Michael Brantley.

Tigers starter David Price (13-10, 3.25) gave up the one run on eight hits, struck out eight and walked two in seven innings.

With the loss, the Indians fall four games behind the Tigers and the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central race, though they hold a 2-1 lead over the Royals from Sunday night's suspended game, which will be resumed Sept. 22 in Cleveland.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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