Cleveland — Indians manager Terry Francona was asked afterwards if it was a relief not to see Miguel Cabrera in the Tigers lineup Wednesday.
"Oh," he said. "Like you can't believe."
After beating the Indians five straight times in their own ball park, 11 of the last 12, the Tigers were much more accommodating guests.
First, they rested Cabrera, who has tortured Indians pitching throughout his career and especially this year (.619, 5 homers and 16 RBIs). Second, they recalled Buck Farmer from Toledo to make a spot start after scheduled starter Justin Verlander was scratched with back stiffness.
The Indians said thank you very much and beat the Tigers 8-2.
"We really would have liked to sweep the series," Ian Kinsler said. "But we couldn't get anything going. Still, we took two of three on the road, which in this park is good. We'll be ready for tomorrow."
As good as Indians starter Carlos Carrasco pitched, though, Cabrera's bat alone might not have been enough to turn the tide. In past starts against the Tigers, he's tried to overpower them with his 95 mph fastball. He used a different method this time.
"His slider was probably as sharp as we've seen it, certainly as sharp as we've seen this year," manager Brad Ausmus said. "His fastball-slider combination, guys were having trouble picking up the slider out of the same arm slot.
"As much as you guys always want to blame somebody in this clubhouse, there are days when you've got to tip your cap."
Carrasco allowed just two hits through the six innings. In the seventh, he gave up a double to Yoenis Cespedes and a two-run homer to J.D. Martinez. It was Martinez's 17th home run.
But that was it for the Tiger highlights.
Farmer, to say the least, had an eventful 24 hours. At about 6 p.m. Tuesday, he was about to start warming up for his Triple-A start in Durham, N.C., when Toledo manager Larry Parrish summoned him.
"He called me in and said I'd be working out of the bullpen, which didn't make any sense to me," Farmer said. "Then he said, 'No, I'm kidding. You're going up.' That was an hour before I was supposed to start."
He had about 90 minutes to catch a flight to Cleveland.
At shortly after noon Wednesday he was extricating himself from an early jam against the Indians.
"I threw the ball decent," Farmer said, after he allowed five runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings. "Not up to my standards, obviously. But there are definitely positives I can take out of this."
Farmer walked two in the first inning, but got out of trouble by striking out Carlos Santana. He proceeded to fan five straight Indians, getting uncomfortable swings with a hard (86-87 mph), sinking change-up.
"That was my best pitch by far," Farmer said.
But the fun stopped abruptly in the third inning. The Indians rattled off five straight hits, including an RBI single by Michael Brantley and a two-run double by Santana.
"The first time around, they were taking my off-speed stuff early in the count," Farmer said. "The next time they were swinging at it."
Rookie Francisco Lindor hit his first major league home run off Farmer in the fifth.
"I don't think he pitched poorly," Ausmus said. "They majority of the game he kept us in it."
Still, Farmer was sent back to Toledo after the game. Right-handed reliever Bruce Rondon was recalled. And the Tigers could sure use a fresh arm in the bullpen.
The Tigers 'pen threw 10. 1 innings in the three games in Cleveland.
"Once we got behind, I was just trying to save arms," Ausmus said. "We want to have these guys available (Thursday). We broke up the pitches and outs and we should be good to go."
Five different relievers, including Saturday's starter Kyle Ryan, pitched a fraction of an inning. It was not pretty. The relievers walked six and allowed three runs.
"We won two of three in Cleveland, in our division," Ausmus said, refusing to wallow in losing the final game of an eight-day, three-city trip. "We'd like to sweep but it's tough to do at the major league level. We're going to go home and be right for the White Sox."
On deck: White Sox
Series: Four games, Thursday-Sunday, Comerica Park, Detroit
First pitch: 1:08 Thursday and Sunday, 7:08 p.m. Friday, 4:08 p.m. Saturday
Probables: Thursday — LHP Carlos Rodon (3-1, 3.75) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (7-4, 3.29). Friday — LHP Jose Quintana (3-7, 3.92) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (6-7, 4.59). Saturday — LHP John Danks (1-1, 3.91) vs. LHP Kyle Ryan (1-1, 3.91). Sunday — RHP Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 4.53) vs. LHP David Price (7-2, 2.42)
Rodon: This is the first left-handed starter the Tigers have faced in 13 games. Rodon, like most rookies, has been up and down. He struck out 10 against Texas, then gave up seven runs and nine hits in 32/3 innings against the Pirates. He throws mostly four-seam fastballs (93-95) and sliders. He also throws a two-seam sinker.
Simon: He's looking to bounce back after his worst start this season. The Yankees roughed up Simon for seven runs and eight hits. He beat the White Sox on June 7, allowing one earned run in eight innings.