CLEVELAND — The Tigers will leave town with three wins this season at Progressive Field, which is more than they had in their previous two seasons combined. But they’ll hit the road regretting the chance they missed at one more.
What looked like a gift for Detroit to win a series in Cleveland for the second time in six weeks vanished in one disastrous fourth inning. Bradley Zimmer’s two-run homer in the seventh inning completed an Indians rally of five unanswered runs to send the Tigers to a 7-5 loss in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon.
Detroit hasn’t won four games in a season at Progressive Field since 2015, just before Cleveland began its run of dominance atop the American League Central. Sunday seemed like the Tigers’ chance to end the aura of this ballpark on a day when they made Zach Plesac pay for walks.
Derek Hill’s first Major League home run plated three second-inning runs, two of which reached by walks. Add in a third-inning wild pitch to score Jonathan Schoop and a Jeimer Candelario double to drive in Eric Haase, and Detroit scored five runs on just two hits through their first three innings against a pitcher that had allowed just three runs over 30 2/3 innings in his career against the Tigers before the series finale.