Detroit Tigers' J.D. Martinez reacts after being hit by a pitch from Cleveland Indians pitcher Gavin Floyd during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Duane Burleson
September 05, 2015

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Tigers haven't known all year which Alfredo Simon was going to take the mound on a given night.

It could be the one who started the season 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA in his first four starts, or the one who gave up 33 hits in 13 2/3 innings in a three-start stretch in July.

Even in his last three starts coming into Saturday night, he had followed up a one-hit shutout of Texas by allowing 14 runs in 9 1/3 innings against the Angels and Blue Jays.

Saturday, though, it was definitely the good version again, as he shut down the Cleveland Indians for seven innings in a 6-0 win.

''He's been kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the last month,'' said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. ''Quite frankly, I like Dr. Jekyll better than Mr. Hyde.''

Detroit had lost seven of its previous eight games and was outscored 71-21 in that stretch.

Simon (12-9) became the first Tigers pitcher besides Justin Verlander to win a game since beating the Rangers on Aug. 20. This time, he didn't allow a hit until the sixth and only gave up two hits while walking four.

''When I throw the ball down, everything goes well,'' he said.

Despite his winning record, he is tied for the major league lead with seven starts allowing six-plus runs.

''We know what he's done in other games, but when a guy with his stuff has good command on a given night, he's going to be hard to beat,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''Once he got his breaking ball spinning tonight, there was nothing we could do.''

Danny Salazar (12-8) lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second on a fluke play. With two out, Nick Castellanos and Tyler Collins singled to left, bringing James McCann to the plate. McCann hit a hard grounder up the middle - one that looked like a fairly easy play for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor - but the ball ricocheted off Salazar's heel and popped over Lindor into shallow left for an RBI single.

''That's really frustrating,'' Salazar said. ''I was struggling with my fastball, but I thought I was finally going to get out of that inning, and then the ball hits my shoe.''

Martinez made it 3-0 in the third, hitting his homer just out of the reach of Lonnie Chisenhall in right. Detroit had lost a baserunner earlier in the inning when Ian Kinsler was thrown out trying to steal second. It was Detroit's 43rd caught stealing of the season, which leads the majors. They are just 13th with 71 stolen bases.

Rajai Davis kept Simon's fledgling no-hitter intact with a diving catch in left-center to end the fourth, robbing Jerry Sands of extra bases. He then helped the Tigers expand the lead in the bottom of the inning. After Collins homered to make it 4-0, McCann singled and scored on Davis's triple, and Ian Kinsler followed with an RBI infield single.

Michael Brantley got Cleveland's first hit with a double down the line with two out in the sixth.

Left-hander Giovanni Soto, once traded from Detroit to Cleveland for Jhonny Peralta, made his major league debut with two out in the fifth inning. Collins hit his first pitch to Sands for an easy out, and Shawn Armstrong replaced Soto for the sixth.

''He looked tired, so we took him out,'' Francona joked.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (shoulder) had no problems in Saturday's bullpen session and is scheduled to return on Tuesday in Chicago. Carrasco, who has been out since Aug. 22, will replace Corey Kluber (hamstring) in the rotation.

Tigers: Both LHP Daniel Norris (oblique strain) and RHP Anibal Sanchez (rotator cuff) are making better-than-expected progress from injuries that have scrambled Detroit's rotation. Norris is scheduled to throw a light bullpen session on Sunday, with Sanchez due to follow on Monday. Both are expected back before season's end.

UP NEXT

The teams finish their weekend series with Cleveland's Cody Anderson (2-3, 4.17) facing Verlander (3-6, 3.40). Verlander is 3-3 in his last eight starts with a 1.53 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .194 batting average.

You May Like