Stingy pitching helps Tigers to rare shutout win over Cleveland

Detroit News

Detroit — The pitching was stingy. The defense was strong. The only facet of the team late to the party Wednesday night was the offense. But enough of it showed up just in time.

Niko Goodrum led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double off reliever Cal Quantrill. He went to third on a perfectly-executed sacrifice fly by Jake Rogers and scored on a sacrifice fly by Robbie Grossman.

That was the only run of the game and it gave the Tigers a 1-0 win over the Indians at Comerica Park, snapping a four-game losing streak and a six-game slide against Cleveland.

The Tigers’ backend bullpen triumvirate of Jose Cisnero, Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto finished what right-hander Jose Urena had started.

Cisnero got the last out of the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh. Fulmer worked the eighth and then Soto locked it down, despite walking the lead-off man in the top of the ninth.

The match-up seemed to favor the Tigers on paper. The Indians, because of a thumb injury to right-hander Zach Plesac, had to recall Triston McKenzie from Triple-A Columbus. He had just been sent down four days earlier after struggling to find the strike zone all season (30 walks in 31 innings).

Apparently, he got better.

The Tigers managed just one hit off McKenzie, a ground ball single by Jonathan Schoop in the fifth. He walked three, but only in the fifth did the Tigers put two runners on base in the same inning. McKenzie erased that threat by getting Goodrum and Rogers to fly out to left.

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Tigers starter Urena matched him zero for zero, though his ride was a little more bumpy out of the gate.

He wobbled plenty in the first three innings — threw as many balls as strikes, walked two, hit one, gave up three hits in the second inning alone — but he never fell.

Credit his catcher and one text-book relay for that. Rogers got Urena out of the first inning by gunning down Jose Ramirez trying to steal second. Shortstop Goodrum made a smooth pick and tag to complete the play.

Box score: Tigers 1, Indians 0

The two combined to snuff out a run in the second. With two outs, Owen Miller lined one in the gap in left center. Josh Naylor tried to score from first. Center fielder Akil Baddoo cut the ball off and threw a strike to the cut-off man Goodrum.

Goodrum then fired home. Rogers, in one motion, caught the throw in front of the plate and made a lunging tag on Naylor. About as good as you can execute that play.

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From the fourth inning on, though, Urena was sturdy, retiring eight of nine until, with two outs in the sixth, Tigers head athletic trainer Doug Teter came to the mound after Urena threw a first pitch strike to Eddie Rosario.

He came out of the game at that point and the Tigers later announced he was cramping in his lower right forearm.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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