DETROIT (AP) - The Cleveland Indians are rolling out of the All-Star break, cutting into Detroit’s previously comfortable lead in the AL Central.
Carlos Santana hit a tiebreaking, bases-clearing double with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Cleveland Indians to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night that sealed a sweep of the doubleheader.
The Indians have won four straight, three in a row at Detroit, to pull within 4 ½ games of the AL Central-leading Tigers.
“It’s all about making the push, little by little,” Chris Dickerson said after hitting a pair of solo homers off Max Scherzer.
Cleveland won the first game 6-2 thanks in large part to Corey Kluber’s strong outing.
Dickerson sent two of Scherzer’s pitches - in the third and sixth innings - over walls to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead in the second game of the day-night doubleheader.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner said Dickerson became the first player in his career to hit one of his curveballs over a fence in the major leagues.
“He’s a good enough hitter that he’s going to capitalize,” Scherzer said.
Cleveland acquired Dickerson earlier this month in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named or cash to add depth while Michael Bourn is out with a strained left hamstring.
The 32-year-old journeyman entered the game hitless in nine at-bats against Scherzer.
“Just coming out here and getting the chance to play every day, it’s a confidence booster,” Dickerson said.
The Tigers tied it in the seventh when Austin Jackson hit a two-out triple to score Eugenio Suarez from first after he beat a throw on a potential double play to extend the inning.
The Indians loaded the bases in the ninth against Joe Nathan (4-3) with Roberto Perez’s leadoff double, Jason Kipnis’ walk and Michael Brantley’s free pass and Santana took advantage, sending a pitch off the right-center wall after it popped out of Jackson’s glove to turn a 3-all game into a 6-3 lead.
“I rushed my glove up to try and make the catch,” Jackson recalled. “I missed it, and hit the wall.”
Carlos Carrasco (3-3) pitched a perfect eighth and Cody Allen closed the game for his 13th save in 14 chances, but Indians manager Terry Francona was not in the mood to celebrate.