CLEVELAND (AP) — Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight over seven innings, Javier Báez had two hits and two runs, and the Detroit Tigers cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday to win their three-game series.
Rodriguez (4-2) gave up four hits and two walks, allowing only two runners past first base in his sixth straight dominant performance. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings since April 12, including a current 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak.
“Whatever pitch is working, I keep using it — and I feel like all my pitches are working right now,” said Rodriguez, who used a four-seam fastball on 50 of his 99 pitches. “As long as I keep getting guys out, I’m going to keep using it.”
Báez singled, doubled and scored twice in the first three innings as the Tigers built a 5-0 lead. Andy Ibañez and Akil Baddoo each had RBI doubles, Spencer Torkelson singled in a run and Riley Greene plated another off Cleveland starter Peyton Battenfield (0-4).
In two starts against the Guardians this year, Rodriguez has thrown 15 scoreless innings and earned two wins. He also bested Battenfield on April 18 at Comerica Park and is 4-0 in his career against Cleveland.
“When (Rodriguez) is on the mound, we’re all like, ‘Let’s go!’” Greene said. “Watching him from center field, he’s incredible. He is not missing his spots.”
Jason Foley and Chasen Shreve wrapped up the combined four-hitter and Detroit’s fourth shutout of the season. The Tigers are 7-2 in May and moved back in front of the Guardians for second place in the AL Central.
“There are a lot of positive things going on,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said.
Tyler Freeman singled twice and David Fry had his first major league hit for Cleveland, which loaded the bases in the fourth before Rodriguez struck out Mike Zunino to end the threat.
“We didn’t do a whole lot,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “Rodriguez has got three really quality pitches and he commands extremely well.”
Battenfield gave up a season-high five runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out four. The right-hander is the first Cleveland pitcher to begin his career 0-4 in six appearances since Carlos Carrasco in 2010.
The Guardians have won only one of their six home series and have a 7-11 record at Progressive Field.
“With them being aggressive, they pretty much scored all five runs within 45 pitches,” Battenfield said. “So with the runs given up, I was pretty efficient throughout the game.”
Guardians 2B Andrés Giménez was not in the lineup after batting .134 over the previous 20 games, managing just nine hits in 67 at-bats. Giménez was a first-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner last season.
“Mentally, it’s probably good for him,” Francona said. “He’s having a tough time and (Rodriguez) is tough on everybody. Sometimes, it just will do a kid good.”
Tigers: RHP Beau Brieske (right upper arm discomfort), who has been on the 15-day injured list since March 30, has resumed throwing. Brieske has not pitched in the majors since July 12, 2022, at Kansas City but made five spring training appearances.
Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (left oblique strain) threw 20 batting practice pitches Tuesday in Goodyear, Arizona, reaching 91-93 mph. Civale will throw again Saturday, continuing his comeback from the injury that occurred on April 7 against Seattle.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (2-2, 5.28 ERA) takes on Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales (2-0, 4.70 ERA) as Detroit begins a five-game homestand Friday.
Guardians: LHP Logan Allen (1-1, 2.70 ERA) faces Angels LHP Tyler Anderson (1-0, 5.40 ERA) on Friday in the opener of a three-game home.