Detroit rookie Casey Crosby earned his first MLB win, and the Tigers managed to hang on to a two-run lead in salvaging the final game of their three-game set with visiting division-rival Cleveland.
The Tigers' 7-5 victory over the Indians was only their second win at Comerica Park this month and just the seventh since the beginning of May.
The victory also marked the first win this year over Cleveland; the Tigers had dropped their first five games against the Indians.
The Indians outhit the Tigers 11-10, but Detroit made the most of its scoring opportunities and chased Cleveland starter Derek Lowe from the game in the fifth, knocking him around for seven runs on nine hits, including four in the first inning.
Miguel Cabrera continued his hot hitting, smashing an opposite-field two-run shot in the fourth to blow the game open. It was Cabrera's second homer in the last two games, pushing his season total to 13. The two RBI give him 49 for the season.
In a bit of a turnaround from his last outing, Crosby displayed poise and control on the mound. In his first career start against the New York Yankees last weekend, he gave up six runs on four hits with four walks in just 3.1 innings of work.
His second start as the fill-in for Doug Fister—currently on the DL with a host of other Tigers—Crosby showed why Detroit late last week purchased the 23-year-old's contract from Toledo, its Triple-A affiliate, in an effort to shore up the club's disastrous pitching situation.
Crosby lowered his ERA from 16.20 to 7.56, with a much better mix of his fastball and off-speed stuff. He also had greater command of the strike zone en route to stopping Detroit's home-stand skid.
With Fister's injury and Detroit's dreadful bullpen support, the Tigers were desperately trying to stop the bleeding.
Crosby's start could be the help Detroit needed.
Unfortunately, the bullpen—particularly the middle relief and specialists—remains a problem for manager Jim Leyland. Brayan Villarreal and Phil Coke nearly allowed Cleveland to climb back into the game. Each give up a run and Coke allowed all three men he faced in the seventh to reach base.
A bright spot for Detroit's late-inning hurlers was Jose Valverde's clean ninth inning to seal Detroit's victory. The save was Valverde's 10th of the season. Joaquin Benoit worked the eighth and earned his 14th hold for the Tigers.
Detroit will begin a 15-game stretch of interleague play tomorrow when they visit the 31-24 Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are currently leading the NL Central by three games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, whom Detroit will also visit during interleague play this month.
The Tigers will look to catch fire as they head on the road for their next six games against the Reds and Chicago Cubs before the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals visit the Motor City. The Tigers will finish up June's interleague play with a trip to Pittsburgh for a three-game set against the Pirates.
Box score stats provided by mlb.com.
Bleacher Report Featured Columnist J. Cook is a member of B/R's MLB Coverage Team and contributes to B/R's MLB content and Detroit Tigers page. He also covers key sport interest stories for all of Detroit's major sports teams.