Soto's one-pitch debut is only highlight of Indians' loss
DETROIT (AP) It says a lot about Cleveland's night that their star of the game threw one pitch.
Rookie Giovanni Soto came in for his major-league debut with two out in the fifth inning, and got Tyler Collins to ground out to first on a fastball.
That turned out to be the end of his night, as Indians manager Terry Francona went with Shawn Armstrong to start the sixth.
''He looked tired, so we took him out,'' Francona joked after the Indians' 6-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night. ''When you get a kid who has never been up here, you want to find a spot to get him into a game and get the first one out of the way before he has too sit around too long.
''That's exactly how you hope it goes.''
The rest of the night, though, was a disaster. Danny Salazar didn't make it out of the fourth inning, and the Indians didn't get a hit until the sixth.
Alfredo Simon, who had allowed at least six runs in seven starts - tying him for the major-league lead - was brilliant against Cleveland, allowing two hits in seven shutout innings.
''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,'' Francona said. ''Once he got his breaking ball spinning tonight, there was nothing we could do.''
Even in his last three starts coming into Saturday night, Simon followed up a one-hit shutout of Texas by allowing 14 runs in 9 1/3 innings against the Angels and Blue Jays.
''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.
Salazar (12-8) lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and eight hits while walking one.
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.''
J.D. Martinez made it 3-0 in the third, hitting his 35th 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.
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.
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.