- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - Justin Verlander believed he was in a groove, saying he felt really good on the mound.

Two of his pitches, though, were hit over the fence and his team didn’t generate much offense to support him.

Carlos Santana and Marlon Byrd homered off Verlander, lifting the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Verlander (1-2) gave up four hits, but the costly ones went over the fence in right field. He walked two and struck out 10.

“It’s never a good feeling when you lose even if you pitch well,” he said.

The Indians pitched a little better.

Josh Tomlin (2-0) allowed one run and four hits over 6 2-3 innings. Zach McAllister and Bryan Shaw followed with 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief. Cody Allen pitched the ninth, getting Miguel Cabrera to pop up in foul territory for the first out, and earned his fifth save in as many chances.

“Everyone did a good job,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “These are games we’ve lost in the past.”

Cleveland had lost three of four. Detroit has dropped four of its last five.

Francona moved Santana up to first in the lineup, wanting him to work the count against Verlander. He did that, and more. Santana hit a 3-2 pitch for the first leadoff homer of his career.

Verlander said he threw a fastball down and in that Santana hit into the seats.

“It wasn’t a mistake,” he said. “Sometimes, you just tip your cap.”

Santana hit a double in his next at-bat on a 3-1 pitch.

“It worked about as well as you can draw it up,” Francona said. “But if he had been hitting fourth, he might have done the same thing and there might have been someone on base.”

Byrd saw what he liked on the first pitch from Verlander in the seventh, hitting the tiebreaking homer.

“It was big to go right back up,” Francona said.

Tigers relievers Alex Wilson and Drew VerHagen kept their team in the game by combining to pitch two scoreless innings.

“This ‘pen has been a bright spot so far,” Verlander said.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Detroit C James McCann, on the 15-day DL since April 12 with a sprained right ankle, ran the bases Friday to take another step toward coming back.

“We’ll probably send him on a rehab when he’s ready, just to make sure he can catch nine innings with the ankle,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “But he’s close. We’ll probably have to make a decision probably by the end of the weekend, as far as when he’s going to go.”

Indians OF Michael Brantley, recovering from shoulder surgery, has been making progress and the team wants to see him play consecutive games in the minors before moving back up to the majors.

“He feels really good,” Francona said.

UP NEXT: Cleveland RHP Corey Kluber (0-3, 6.16 ERA) will try to end his winless start Saturday against RHP Anibal Sanchez (2-1, 4.60) in the second game of the three-day series, the first of six matching the AL Central teams.

MOVING ON UP: Ramon De Jesus became the first Dominican-born umpire to be on the field in a Major League Baseball game. He was the second base umpire in the Indians-Tigers game.

PAYING RESPECTS: The Tigers had a pregame ceremony to honor former broadcaster Paul Carey, who died last week. He was 88.

There was a moment of silence and a white flag with “PC,” on it was raised, just below the U.S. flag, and the team plans to keep it up all season. Carey was Ernie Harwell’s radio broadcast partner from 1973-91, including the Tigers’ 1984 World Series championship season.

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