- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - Justin Verlander rarely looks like a five-time All-Star, former Cy Young winner and AL MVP when he takes the mound at Progressive Field.

For some reason, in Cleveland he’s a different pitcher.

A beatable one.

Verlander was tagged for four runs in the second inning and outpitched by Trevor Bauer, who handled Detroit’s punishing lineup as the Indians beat the Tigers 6-2 on Tuesday night for their second win over the AL-Central leaders.

Mike Aviles hit a two-run double in the second off Verlander (5-3) when the Indians opened a 5-1 lead. Verlander settled in, but it was too late. He dropped to 9-11 with a 5.36 ERA in Cleveland and the right-hander is 18-15 in his career against the Indians, who have handed him more losses than any other team.

“Their whole lineup was really locked in,” Verlander said. “Those guys hit some easy pitches and some tough ones.”

Bauer (1-1) was recalled earlier in the day for his second start this season, and the right-hander held the AL’s top hitting team to just two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings.

David Murphy homered in the seventh inning for the last-place Indians, who have pulled two games closer to the Tigers and can sweep the three-game series Wednesday.

Torii Hunter and Alex Avila homered for Detroit, which has lost two straight road games after winning 11 in a row.

In the second, the Indians collected three doubles and two singles off Verlander and Michael Bourn caught Detroit’s infield napping and stole third.

The unexpected outburst began with a base-running blunder as Carlos Santana singled off Miguel Cabrera’s glove at first but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Nick Swisher doubled and Verlander walked Yan Gomes before Aviles lined his two-run double into the gap in left-center.

Bourn followed with a double off the wall in right to score Aviles and Cleveland’s leadoff hitter alertly swiped third without a throw. Asdrubal Cabrera’s RBI single made it 4-1 and brought Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones out to visit Verlander, who allowed a season-high 11 hits in six innings.

“Really, the first four innings, they really hit the ball well,” Verlander said. “After the second, I just tried to throw up some zeroes, but by that point, the damage had been done.”

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wasn’t surprised to see the 31-year-old Verlander shake off his poor inning and blank the Indians over the next four to keep it close.

Justin had a little trouble with his command early, which led to that one bad inning,” Ausmus said. “But he was able contain the damage, which is why he’s Justin Verlander. He’s been very good for years.”

Story Continues →