Detroit — A couple of weeks ago the Tigers went into Cleveland and scored 25 runs in three lopsided victories.
Looks like the Indians aim to return the favor. They pounded out 15 hits and romped to a 13-1 victory in the first game of a three-game series at Comerica Park. It was the fourth straight loss for the Tigers, who are now 3-5 on this 10-game home stand.
But if you are looking for wide spread panic, best look in another clubhouse.
"I don't expect to lose every game from here on out," catcher Alex Avila said, almost rolling his eyes at the notion. "I think we will be fine. We didn't play good baseball tonight. Tomorrow we get an opportunity to play good baseball. If we put a game together, we will win."
Cleveland jumped all over Tigers starter Shane Greene. After allowing one earned run in his first three starts, Greene gave up three in the first two innings and never gained any traction against an Indians lineup that entered the game devoid of a single player hitting above .231.
"I left some balls up and they hit them," Greene said.
Right-fielder Brandon Moss, hitting .162 to start the night, rapped a two-out, two-run double in the first and, on the first pitch thrown by reliever Alex Wilson, smacked a three-run home run in the fifth.
Moss, to cap off his night, whacked a two-run home run off Al Alburquerque in the ninth — a 7-RBI night.
Greene took the brunt of the abuse in that six-run fifth inning. Five straight hitters reached on him. All in all, he was charged with eight runs and nine hits. His ERA went from 0.39 to 3.00, just like that.
"I take full responsibility," Greene said. "I didn't set the tone the way I should have in the first inning. That's on me."
His counterpart, Indians starter Danny Salazar, was able to gain traction after somewhat of a shaky start.
"I don't know if my personality allows me to tip my cap very often," said Ian Kinsler, who had two hits and two walks against Salazar. "Definitely there are nights when a pitcher is extremely dominant. But we had some opportunities."
Salazar was erratic in the first inning, walking Kinsler and hitting Victor Martinez around a single by Miguel Cabrera.
But he struck out J.D. Martinez (it was the seventh time in eight at-bats he'd done so). Yoenis Cespedes then hit a rocket to the warning track in center field that Michael Bourn ran down. That
"It changes the complexion of the game if that ball gets over Bourn's head," manager Brad Ausmus said. "They made a number of plays. Cespedes seems to have been the victim of a lot of good plays on well-hit balls lately. You just hope that it evens out in the end.would have been a grand slam in Cleveland's Progressive Field.
"Overall, they were just better than us."
Nick Castellanos drove a 97 mph fastball from Salazar into the seats in right-center for the Tigers' lone run.
Salazar struck out 11 in seven innings (his career high).
Avila fanned three straight times. Anthony Gose and Cabrera whiffed twice. For the game, the Tigers were punched out 13 times.
"It was pretty easy to see (why Salazar was so dominant)," Avila said. "At points in the game he's throwing 97-98 mph. He's got a good splitter and a good slide. He's flat-out nasty."
The Tigers bats have chilled considerably since they've returned to Comerica. With the exception of the 9-1 win against the White Sox Sunday, they have scored just 15 runs in seven games.
"We have gone cold longer than we expected our offense to not produce runs," Kinsler said. "We just have to up our level of focus and make sure that we have some urgency every inning and every at-bat."
Wilson, called up from Toledo Thursday, pitched well. After being ambushed on his first pitch by Moss, he got six straight outs, gave up a single in the seventh, but erased that with a double play.
Alburquerque, however, continues to get battered around. He was greeted in the eighth inning by a double from David Murphy and a home run to right field by Lonnie Chisenhall. And then Moss hit his second home run of the game off of him in the ninth.
"It's a long season," Ausmus said. "I think we're cold with the bats, quite frankly. I know we gave up runs today, but overall, since the (first) Cleveland series, with the exception of the one game against the White Sox, our bats have been cold."
Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky