Just a week ago, the Indians were in first place in the division and were playing much better, but the Tigers were on a hot streak of their own. The Tigers mopped the floor with the Indians over the first two games of the series, but things looked a little different Sunday.
The Tribe reportedly held a players only meeting to drive home the importance of being resilient and not giving in to the Tigers, and it appeared to work. They jumped on Doug Fister for four runs in the first inning after quickly conceding the first two outs.
They proved their persistence again in the eighth inning. After six innings, the Indians held a commanding 6-1 lead but saw it slip away when Torii Hunter hit a game-tying three-run blast in the top of the eighth. They didn’t let it dampen their spirits, bouncing back with a three-run eighth of their own and putting the Tigers away for good.
The Indians are going to have to continue to play with a never-say-die attitude to keep up with the Tigers. Detroit has been relatively consistent but streaky at times, and Cleveland has been as streaky as they come. They have already had 10 winning or losing streaks of four games or more.
They aren’t great at putting together a “W” if the whole club doesn’t have a great game, but they are starting to figure out how to be carried a player or two. This will be key to figuring out how to weather the storms in the second half. They can’t afford to continue to go cold for long stretches; they simply won’t be able to keep pace.