Indians hold on in 9th for victory over Tigers

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera gestures with his helmet against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera gestures with his helmet against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (AP) — Zach Plesac pitched impressively into the eighth inning, and Brad Hand worked out of a jam in the ninth to send the Cleveland Indians to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Francisco Lindor drove in the game’s only run with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly, and Plesac (4-2) rebounded after allowing a season-high five runs at Minnesota in his previous outing. The right-hander yielded five hits in 7 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.85. He struck out 11 with one walk.

James Karinchak struck out Miguel Cabrera with two on to end the eighth. Hand allowed a one-out triple by Daz Cameron — the rookie was 1 for 27 in his career to that point — but struck out Jorge Bonifacio and Niko Goodrum to end it. It was Hand’s 13th save in 13 chances.

Plesac is now close to teammate Shane Bieber’s American League-leading ERA of 1.74, although Plesac doesn’t have enough innings to qualify yet.

While Plesac was keeping the Detroit bats quiet, Cleveland struggled to back him up. José Ramírez was caught attempting a straight steal of home for the third out of the fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Delino DeShields tripled to center — outfielder Victor Reyes was unable to cut the ball off and it went for three bases. Lindor lifted a flyball to center, and DeShields scored.

Cleveland has won two in a row after an eight-game losing streak. The Indians are still in solid shape to make the postseason, and Plesac matched his career high for strikeouts Friday. This also matched his longest outing of the season.

Detroit starter Michael Fulmer pitched three scoreless innings, but Tyler Alexander (2-2) allowed the Cleveland run. The Tigers have lost six of seven.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: C Austin Romine left in the ninth inning with an apparent injury. … Detroit reinstated UTIL Harold Castro (left hamstring strain) from the injured list. He went 1 for 3 but was replaced defensively in the eighth.

UP NEXT

Spencer Turnbull (4-3) takes the mound for the Tigers on Saturday night against Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie (2-1). Turnbull is 0-6 with a 5.55 ERA in his career against the Indians.

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