DETROIT -- Trailing by three runs and in danger of falling another game off the pace in the AL Central, Orlando Cabrera and the Cleveland Indians broke through with a big rally.
Cabrera had three hits, and the Indians came back to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-4 on Wednesday night. After scoring two runs in its previous four games, Cleveland scored four in the fourth inning. Cabrera then added an RBI double in the fifth to break a 4-4 tie.
Cleveland (36-30) pulled back ahead of Detroit (37-31) at the top of the AL Central by a percentage point.
"It's going to be a really, really interesting season," Cabrera said. "It's going to be fun. It's going to be a battle. Hopefully, we'll have more games like this."
The teams finish the three-game series Thursday, again with first place on the line.
The Indians led the Tigers by seven games on May 23, but they'd lost 15 of 20 entering Wednesday's game. They were shut down by Detroit's Justin Verlander on Tuesday night, and for a little while Wednesday, the bad breaks continued. Carlos Santana's drive down the right-field line went foul in the first inning, narrowly missing a home run. He then grounded into a double play.
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Brennan Boesch hit a solo homer for Detroit in the bottom half to open the scoring, and Miguel Cabrera followed with a two-out grounder that handcuffed third baseman Jack Hannahan for a single. The Tigers eventually loaded the bases, and Alex Avila drove home two more runs with a single.
But the Indians took advantage of an erratic start by Brad Penny. Asdrubal Cabrera led off the fourth with a single, and after a walk to Shin-Soo Choo, Matt LaPorta and Orlando Cabrera hit RBI singles. Following a sacrifice bunt by Hannahan, Lou Marson tied the game with a single.
Charlie Furbush (1-1) relieved Penny, and Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly put the Indians ahead 4-3.
"We have not been playing our game," Orlando Cabrera said. "We did it earlier in the season. [In the fourth inning], we really got the momentum right there and put a couple of hits together and got those runs."
Detroit tied it in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI groundout by Boesch, but Cleveland took the lead back in the fifth when Orlando Cabrera hit a run-scoring double down the left-field line.
It was Orlando Cabrera who broke up Verlander's no-hit bid Tuesday night in the eighth inning.
Penny allowed four runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked two.
"His command wasn't good - he was just all over the place," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "But it was 4-4 into the fifth inning, so we had plenty of chances to win this game. We had them on the ropes, but we just didn't do anything against their bullpen."
Fausto Carmona (4-8) pitched five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. Cleveland's bullpen then held Detroit hitless, and Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
"It's going to be a battle all year," said right-hander Vinnie Pestano, one of four Cleveland relievers who pitched. "We got off to a hot start. We've kind of leveled off, and teams that got off to a slow start, they're starting to catch up now."
LaPorta made it 6-4 with an RBI groundout in the seventh.
Carmona, who had lost five straight starts, struck out three and walked two.
Cleveland outhit Detroit 13-8. ... Indians manager Manny Acta said DH Travis Hafner (right oblique strain) had treatment Wednesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland and did some sliding. ... The Indians announced makeup dates for postponed games May 14-15 against Seattle. They'll host a doubleheader against the Mariners on Aug. 23 and also host them Sept. 19. ... Fans began heading for the concourse as rain fell during the sixth inning, but the game wasn't delayed.