|Cleveland (25-18) «||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||2||x||4||7||1|
CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis left his flesh and blood on home plate as he scored the go-ahead run against the Tigers.
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Kipnis had three hits, rubbed his right arm raw as he broke a 2-2 tie, and said the Indians couldn't help but feel the emotion of a second successive victory against the defending AL Central champions to guarantee winning the three-game series.
"There's lots of games left, but you feel it," Kipnis said, his arm scratched and bleeding.
"We're playing the team that caught us and dominated the division the last half of last year."
The Tigers won the last 10 meetings with Cleveland a year ago and looked like they were going to break open the tie in the top of the eighth when they loaded the bases with no outs.
Vinnie Pestano (2-0) made sure they didn't.
"I've been in that situation before and the thing to do is not curl up," Pestano said. "When your back is against the wall, there is only one way to go."
The right-hander extended his team relief record to 23 consecutive outings with at least one strikeout.
"Without those guys [the bullpen], life would be very tough for us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That was a real team effort."
"It clearly was inaccurate," Fielder said. "It didn't hit him in the glove. If I made the play it would have been easy, but I didn't."
Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th consecutive save after blowing a lead in the season opener April 5.
Critical of Cleveland fans last weekend for booing him and giving Cleveland the majors' lowest attendance, Perez praised them for giving Pestano a standing ovation.
"That was great, just great," Perez said. "It may have been the loudest I've heard them. It may have given the offense a lift. It may have been coincidence, but I don't think so."
The Tigers were emotionally drained after stranding 10 on base and going 2 of 12 with runners in scoring position.
"You can get runners out there, but you have to get them in," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's pretty simple. There's no rocket science in this one."
Hafner's two-run homer in the sixth off Tigers starter Doug Fister tied it at 2.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the sixth off Indians starter Zach McAllister when the ball bounced their way.
Quintin Berry, called up from Triple-A Toledo and making his big-league debut at age 27, got his first career hit on a bunt between first and second. Second baseman Kipnis wasn't going to get the speedy Berry on the tough play, but when the ball rolled past him, Berry hustled to second for a double.
Andy Dirks followed with a line drive directly at right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who broke in, then saw it go over his head for an RBI double. Dirks took third on Cabrera's flyout to right -- then scored on a close play at home to make it 2-0.
With the infield in, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera dove to stop Fielder's hard grounder and threw home from his knees. Dirks, running on contact, slid in as catcher Santana took the throw in the dirt and applied a late tag.
McAllister gave up two runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Fister gave up five hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings. The Tigers have scored nine runs in his five starts.
His previous victory was against Cleveland on Sept. 26, completing a sensational stretch for the right-hander. He went 7-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his last eight starts of 2011 to help the Tigers win the AL Central.
|Jason Kipnis celebrates after recording three hits and scoring the go-ahead run for the Indians, who take the series. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Quintin Berry, CF||5||1||1||0||0||1||1||.200|
|Andy Dirks, LF||4||1||1||1||1||2||0||.336|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||5||0||2||0||0||0||4||.306|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||4||0||0||1||0||0||1||.285|
|Delmon Young, DH||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.256|
|Brennan Boesch, RF||4||0||2||0||0||1||2||.246|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.254|
|Ramon Santiago, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||4||.191|
|Gerald Laird, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.286|
|a- Alex Avila, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||.222|
|a-struck out for Laird in the 8th|
|2B - Quintin Berry (1, McAllister), Andy Dirks (7, McAllister), Miguel Cabrera (8, McAllister), Brennan Boesch (6, McAllister)|
|RBI - Andy Dirks (14), Prince Fielder (25)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|E - Prince Fielder (6, Throwing)|
|Phil Coke (L,1-1)||1.1||2||2||0||0||0||0||4.26|
|Pitches-Strikes - Doug Fister 111-69, Phil Coke 22-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Fister 10-7, Phil Coke 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Doug Fister 27, Phil Coke 5|
|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.266|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B||4||2||3||0||0||0||0||.266|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.308|
|Travis Hafner, DH||3||1||1||2||1||0||1||.242|
|Shelley Duncan, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.202|
|Carlos Santana, C||3||0||0||1||0||1||3||.257|
|Michael Brantley, CF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.262|
|Johnny Damon, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.156|
|Aaron Cunningham, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.208|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.220|
|Jose Lopez, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||2||0||.283|
|2B - Asdrubal Cabrera (14, Coke), Michael Brantley (14, Fister)|
|HR - Travis Hafner (6, Fister)|
|SF - Carlos Santana (4)|
|RBI - Travis Hafner 2 (23), Carlos Santana (23)|
|CS - Shelley Duncan (1, 2nd base by Coke/Avila)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Outfield Assists - Michael Brantley 1|
|DP - Brantley-J. Lopez|
|E - Jason Kipnis (2, Throwing)|
|Vinnie Pestano (W,2-0)||1||2||0||0||0||2||0||2.41|
|Chris Perez (S,15)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||2.95|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach McAllister 89-66, Nick Hagadone 12-5, Joe Smith 5-2, Tony Sipp 4-3, Vinnie Pestano 17-12, Chris Perez 21-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach McAllister 9-7, Nick Hagadone 1-0, Joe Smith 1-0, Tony Sipp 1-0, Vinnie Pestano 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Zach McAllister 27, Nick Hagadone 2, Joe Smith 1, Tony Sipp 1, Vinnie Pestano 5, Chris Perez 3|
|Attendance - 22000|
|Game Time - 2:44|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Scott Barry|