- Associated Press - Saturday, June 21, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - A late, five-run deficit proved too much for the Cleveland Indians to overcome.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Carlos Santana added a solo shot in the eighth inning Friday night, but the Detroit Tigers held on for a 6-4 victory.

The Tigers led 5-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth before the Indians scored four times off reliever Ian Krol on the two homers into the bleachers in left field.

Joba Chamberlain entered with two outs and struck out Nick Swisher to end the inning. Joe Nathan tossed a scoreless ninth to preserve the win for Detroit.

“That’s the character of our team that you saw again tonight,” Indians pitcher Corey Kluber said. “We’ve done it lots of times, coming back late for big wins, so we never lose faith. Our guys never quit, but unfortunately, we couldn’t make it all the way back and get this one.”

Kluber (6-5) went seven strong innings and struck out six, but was victimized for a two-run homer by Victor Martinez in the fourth. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA in four June starts after going 4-0 with 60 strikeouts in 43 innings in May.

“Corey went seven innings, gave up two runs, made the pitches he needed to, and got deep in the game,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “The only mistake he made was leaving a pitch over the plate that Victor hit out. I’d say that’s a pretty good job.”

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus also was impressed with Kluber.

“He’s tough. He’s got a good, hard fastball, a good breaking ball, and a cutter,” he said. “He’s one of the better pitchers in the division, for sure.”

Kluber exited with the Indians trailing 2-0, but John Axford promptly allowed a three-run homer to J.D. Martinez in the top of the eighth to put Detroit up five.

“The way I pitched was certainly frustrating on its own, but when you see the guys immediately mount a comeback, it makes it worse,” said Axford, who was removed as the team’s closer on May 10. “I felt good. I just couldn’t locate my slider or cutter. It’s definitely a bad feeling.”

The attendance of 33,545 was the second-largest of the season at Progressive Field, trailing the 41,274 at Cleveland’s home opener on April 4. The Indians own the lowest average attendance in the majors at 15,889, but are expecting large crowds for all three games in the series.

The Indians, who swept a three-game series from the Tigers last month, have lost two of three after winning 10 straight at home.

Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello (9-4) earned the win by scattering six hits over six shutout innings. He is 9-3 in his career against Cleveland, including 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA over the last two seasons.

“Porcello has got really good late movement and pitched very well against us again,” Francona said.

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