After being beat down 10-4 in the first game of the series, the Indians bounced back with two impressive pitching performances to keep the Tigers at bay. The Indians’ bullpen was better than the Tigers’, and that ultimately decided the series.
Chris Perez got the save in Saturday’s thriller by getting reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera to ground out to third base for the final out of the game with the winning run on.
Cleveland’s bullpen came up big again Sunday earning the win in the tenth inning. The Tigers’ bullpen had pitched well heading into the ninth inning until Jose Valverde came into the game. Valverde blew his first save of the season, thanks in large part to his lack of control and lead-off walk to the speediest base runner on the Indians.
Mark Reynolds had the game-tying hit in the ninth, and Michael Brantley had the decider in extras as Darin Downs pitched decently but was unable to keep the Indians off the board.
The results speak to the teams’ strengths and weaknesses. The Tigers were able to out-slug the Tribe in game one of the series and put it out of reach, but when the game was tight, the Indians seemed to hold an edge.
Cleveland didn’t appear fazed by the Tigers’ top hitters as they were able to retire Cabrera and Prince Fielder in a couple of key situations over the past two days. Both sluggers had prime opportunities to knock runners in, but neither registered an RBI Saturday or Sunday.