The Cleveland Indians not only have a chance to sweep their first series at Detroit in six seasons, but also trim another game off the Tigers' lead in the AL Central.
The Indians can complete the four-game sweep with a fifth consecutive victory Sunday against the Tigers, who will try to avoid matching a season high with their fifth straight defeat.After Corey Kluber came one out away from pitching a complete game during a 6-2 victory in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader, Carlos Santana hit a tiebreaking, bases-clearing double off Joe Nathan with two outs in the ninth inning to lead Cleveland (50-47) to a 5-2 win in the nightcap.Owners of an 11-4 record in July and trying to win six straight on the road for the first time since 2008, the second-place Indians are 4 1/2 games behind the Tigers (53-41)."It's all about making the push, little by little," said Cleveland outfielder Chris Dickerson, who hit a pair of solo homers off Max Scherzer in the nightcap.Cleveland last swept a series of any duration at Detroit from Aug. 25-27, 2008, and has never recorded a four-game sweep there. That will be the focus for an Indians club playing in the present and not too caught up in Saturday's achievement."We've got to show up in (in a few) hours," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.The Tigers, meanwhile, have been outscored 25-9 during a four-game skid that followed five consecutive victories. A loser in six of eight at Comerica Park, Detroit dropped five in a row overall May 31-June 5."It's frustrating, especially when you're playing teams in your division," Detroit's Austin Jackson said. "You always want to get those wins."Since his one-hit, 11-strikeout performance in a 5-0 victory at Seattle on June 28, Cleveland's Josh Tomlin (5-6, 4.21 ERA) has allowed nine runs and 18 hits, including three homers, in 12 2/3 innings to go 0-1 in the next two outings. He yielded four runs and two homers in seven innings of a 5-4, 14-inning loss to the New York Yankees on July 9.Miguel Cabrera homered off the right-hander, who allowed eight runs -- five earned -- in four innings of a 10-4 home loss to the Tigers on June 22.Batting .419 (18 for 43) against the Indians this season, Cabrera is 4 for 7 versus Tomlin.Detroit's Drew Smyly (5-8, 4.00) allowed a run in six innings of an 8-2 win at Texas on June 24, but since is 1-2 with an 8.16 ERA. He gave up eight hits and three of his four runs on two homers over 6 2/3 innings of a 16-4 win at Kansas City on July 10.The left-hander allowed three runs, five walks and seven hits in five innings of a 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Indians on May 19.Cleveland All-Star Michael Brantley is batting .417 in 11 games against the Tigers this season, and is 5 for 10 with two doubles and a triple versus Smyly.Detroit's Ian Kinsler is 3 for 6 with two doubles against Tomlin, but 0 for 16 in his last four contests.