|Cleveland (77-77) «||1||1||0||2||0||0||2||0||x||6||11||0|
CLEVELAND -- With the exception of the boos that rained down on Gary Sheffield, all was quiet at Progressive Field on Saturday night.
While Sheffield was the center of attention one night after his role in a bench-clearing brawl, both teams stuck to baseball.
"It was good for both teams that we were able to play baseball," Indians manager Eric Wedge said, likely summing up the feeling of everyone.
Sheffield, one of the main principals in the fight, was in the starting lineup. Booed during pregame introductions and during every at-bat, the Tigers designated hitter was 2-for-4.
"I don't worry about that," Sheffield said of the boos. "When you're the DH, you need some excitement. That gave me some excitement."
Shin-Soo Choo and Jeremy Sowers provided some excitement for the Indians. Choo continued his strong September and Sowers pitched six solid innings to help the Indians move to .500 for the first time since May 18.
Cleveland, which won the AL Central last season, was 37-53 on July 9. The Indians are now 77-77 with eight games left in the season.
"It's a hell of an accomplishment for this ballclub, considering where we were and how hard these guys had to work," Wedge said. "It shows how much fire they have."
Choo, who is batting .448 (26-for-58) with 17 RBI in 18 games this month, drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth. He was 2-for-2 with two walks, raising his average to .310.
"When I get up and there are runners on base, I am just trying to help the team whatever way I can," Choo said. "If there are runners on base, I try to bring them in."
Sowers (4-8) gave up a first-inning run, but held the Tigers to two hits over his final five innings. Jensen Lewis pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
"I had better command as the game went on," Sowers said. "I wasn't pitching that bad in the first couple innings. My command was off."
Asdrubal Cabrera added a two-run single in the seventh for the Indians.
Justin Verlander (10-17) allowed four runs in four innings, throwing 97 pitches.
"Justin struggled with his command," said Tigers acting manager Lloyd McClendon. "We had no choice but to go to the bullpen earlier than we wanted to."
Other than struggling with his curveball, Verlander didn't have a problem with his performance.
"This by far is the best stuff I've had at this point in the season," he said.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland sat out the second of his three-game suspension for his actions toward the umpires during a series with Texas last week. Leyland also will miss Sunday's game.
Friday night's trouble started when Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona hit Sheffield with a pitch in the seventh inning. The two fought near the mound, prompting both dugouts and bullpens to empty. Four players, including Carmona and Sheffield, were ejected. Following the game, Sheffield criticized several Indians players, including catcher Victor Martinez, one of the ejected players.
Sheffield doubled in the first, bounced into a double play in the third, flied out in the sixth and singled in the eighth. Martinez, still recovering from surgery on his right elbow, didn't play -- a planned day off, according Wedge. Martinez is scheduled to catch Sunday.
Verlander hit Jamey Carroll in the back with an 0-1 pitch with one out in the first. Carroll quickly went to first base. The hit batter eventually cost the Tigers a run. After a walk and a wild pitch, Carroll scored on Jhonny Peralta's groundout.
Verlander balked in a run in the second. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth before Choo singled to right.
Magglio Ordonez's RBI groundout in the first gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer off Rafael Perez in the seventh. Cabrera responded with a two-run single in the bottom of the inning.
|Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo is on fire this month, batting .448 with 17 RBI. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||1||1||2||0||1||2||.289|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||4||1||2||0||1||0||2||.307|
|Magglio Ordonez, RF||4||0||0||1||1||0||3||.323|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.297|
|Gary Sheffield, DH||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.223|
|Ryan Raburn, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.238|
|a- Matt Joyce, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.266|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.269|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||2||0||.213|
|Dusty Ryan, C||3||1||1||0||0||1||3||.360|
|b- Jeff Larish, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.235|
|a-struck out for Raburn in the 8th|
|b-doubled for Ryan in the 9th|
|2B - Placido Polanco (34, Sowers), Gary Sheffield (16, Sowers), Brandon Inge (14, Sowers), Jeff Larish (4, Lewis)|
|HR - Curtis Granderson (20, R. Perez)|
|RBI - Curtis Granderson 2 (60), Magglio Ordonez (96)|
|2-OUT RBI - Curtis Granderson 2 (19)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Polanco-Cabrera|
|E - Magglio Ordonez (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|Justin Verlander (L,10-17)||4||5||4||4||4||4||0||4.87|
|IBB - Hafner by Justin Verlander, Choo by Chris Lambert, Peralta by Bobby Seay|
|HBP - Carroll (by Justin Verlander)|
|WP - Justin Verlander 3 (6)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 97-54, Chris Lambert 59-36, Bobby Seay 27-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 2-6, Chris Lambert 3-3|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 22, Chris Lambert 13, Bobby Seay 7|
|Grady Sizemore, CF||5||1||2||0||0||2||2||.275|
|Jamey Carroll, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.274|
|Shin-Soo Choo, LF||3||0||2||2||2||0||1||.310|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||4||0||0||1||1||1||4||.272|
|Travis Hafner, DH||4||0||0||0||1||1||3||.207|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||4||2||1||0||1||1||4||.268|
|Ryan Garko, 1B||4||1||3||0||0||0||1||.263|
|Franklin Gutierrez, RF||3||1||0||0||1||0||3||.247|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B||4||0||2||2||0||1||2||.249|
|2B - Grady Sizemore (38, Lambert), Kelly Shoppach (27, Verlander)|
|RBI - Shin-Soo Choo 2 (59), Jhonny Peralta (85), Asdrubal Cabrera 2 (42)|
|2-OUT RBI - Shin-Soo Choo 2 (27), Asdrubal Cabrera 2 (23)|
|SB - Franklin Gutierrez (8, 2nd base off Seay/Ryan)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|DP - A. Cabrera-Garko|
|Jeremy Sowers (W,4-8)||6||5||1||1||2||3||0||5.48|
|Rafael Betancourt (H,11)||0.2||1||1||1||0||1||0||5.24|
|Rafael Perez (H,24)||0.1||2||1||1||0||0||1||3.25|
|Brendan Donnelly (H,4)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||8.25|
|Jensen Lewis (S,11)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||3.90|
|WP - Jeremy Sowers (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Sowers 94-60, Rafael Betancourt 9-6, Rafael Perez 12-7, Brendan Donnelly 15-12, Jensen Lewis 28-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Sowers 8-6, Brendan Donnelly 1-1, Jensen Lewis 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Sowers 24, Rafael Betancourt 3, Rafael Perez 3, Brendan Donnelly 4, Jensen Lewis 5|
|Attendance - 36869|
|Game Time - 3:26|
|Temperature - 73|
|Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi|