Two solo home runs led Cleveland to a 2-1 victory Friday at Comerica Park to send the Tigers to their fifth loss in seven games.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin earned the win. He retired 14 straight Tigers batters at one point and had a one-hitter through five innings.
The Tigers recorded 14 consecutive scoreless innings (dating back to Wednesday in Kansas City) until Justin Upton's RBI double tied the game in the sixth.
Verlander, however, relinquished a solo home run to Marlon Byrd on the first pitch of the seventh.
The Indians' Carlos Santana made his first career start batting leadoff and belted a solo homer in the first inning.
Verlander finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts. He gave up four hits and two walks in seven innings. His last win against the Tribe came on April 17, 2014 at Comerica Park.
Tomlin had four strikeouts and allowed one walk and four hits through 6 2/3 innings.
Bottom 9: Allen gets the save
In the Tigers' final at-bat, Miguel Cabrera jumped ahead 2-0 in the count off Indians reliever Cody Allen, but popped out into foul territory.
Victor Martinez jumped ahead 3-1 in the count, but hit a line drive deep to second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was 30-40 feet off the infield grass.
J.D. Martinez flied out to end the game.
Top 9: VerHagen gets 1-2-3 inning
Tigers reliever Drew VerHagen recorded three ground ball outs in the top of the ninth inning.
Cleveland leads 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth.
The Tigers are in danger of losing for the fifth time in seven games as they will face Cleveland right-handed reliever Cody Allen.
Due up for Detroit: Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez.
Allen has allowed four hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings this year.
Bottom 8: Shaw's slider silences Tigers
Indians reliever Bryan Shaw entered the game in relief and earned a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Cleveland leads 2-1 entering the top of the ninth inning.
Jose Iglesias popped out on the first pitch of the eighth, and both Ian Kinsler (83-mph slider) and Justin Upton (82-mph slider) struck out swinging.
Top 8: Wilson has eighth straight scoreless frame
Tigers left-handed reliever Justin Wilson has not given up a run in his first eight outings this season, and stranded a Cleveland runner on second base.
The Indians lead 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor hit back-to-back singles with one out.
Wilson escaped trouble with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. He struck out Cleveland first baseman Mike Napoli on a nine-pitch at-bat (88-mph cutter), and then fanned Yan Gomes (96-mph, four-seam fastball).
Opponents were batting .190 off Wilson entering the game.
Bottom 7: Runner stranded at 3rd
J.D. Martinez flied out to the right-field warning track to lead off the seventh, and Nick Castellanos was stranded at third base to end the inning.
Cleveland leads 2-1 after seven innings.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia entered as a pinch hitter for catcher Bobby Wilson with two outs, but Indians reliever Zach McAllister struck him out (95-mph, two seam fastball) to end the inning.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin finished with four strikeouts and one walk. He gave up one earned run and four hits. He retired 14 straight batters from the second inning until Ian Kinsler singled in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos delivered a one-out single (Castellanos hit .407 on the Tigers’ eight-game road trip that ended Thursday in Kansas City). Castellanos advanced to second base when Tyler Collins grounded softly into a fielder’s choice, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch by McAllister.
But Saltalamacchia struck out to end the threat.
Top 7: Byrd homers on first pitch
And the tie game is gone.
On the first pitch of the seventh inning, Marlon Byrd hammered a 92-mph fastball off Justin Verlander to the right-field seats to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
Both Cleveland runs are solo homers (Carlos Santana, first inning).
Verlander earned his 10th strikeout of the game when he fanned Juan Uribe later in the seventh. He has struck out 10 or more batters 30 times in his career, which is second among Tigers pitchers since at least 1914. (Mickey Lolich accomplished the feat 54 times.)
Verlander exited the inning with 118 pitches for the night. He has given up four hits and two walks.
Bottom 6: Upton's RBI double ties it
Justin Upton delivered a two-out, RBI double that scored Ian Kinsler all the way from first base to tie the game 1-1 in the sixth inning.
The Tigers entered the inning with 14 straight scoreless frames (dating back to Wednesday at Kansas City) and appeared destined to end the sixth with another goose egg. Tigers catcher Bobby Wilson popped out on the first pitch and Jose Iglesias saw two pitches and flied out. Three pitches, two outs.
But Ian Kinsler hit a two-out single, and Upton followed with a line drive to center field to tie the game.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin retired 14 consecutive Tigers batters until Kinsler singled. He allowed one hit through five innings.
Miguel Cabrera walked to place a pair of runners on base with two outs, but Victor Martinez grounded out to end the inning.
Top 6: Verlander 9 Ks
Justin Verlander has a season-high nine strikeouts through six innings. The Tigers trail 1-0 entering the bottom of the sixth.
Verlander has given up three hits and one earned run — a solo homer to Carlos Santana to leadoff the top of the first inning.
Verlander has thrown 107 pitches through six innings. He has given up two walks.
Bottom 5: Fourteen innings without a run
Twelve straight Tigers have been retired by Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who has a one-hitter through five innings.
Cleveland leads 1-0.
The Tigers have not scored a run in 14 straight innings, dating back to Wednesday’s ninth inning at Kansas City when Ian Kinsler hit an RBI single.
Tomlin has not walked a batter. He has four strikeouts.
Top 5: Verlander has 8 Ks
Justin Verlander has settled in nicely since a leadoff homer (Carlos Santana) to start the game.
Verlander has eight strikeouts through five innings. He has given up three hits and two walks.
Tyler Naquin delivered a one-out single in the fifth. A wild pitch moved him to second base with two outs, but Jason Kipnis flied out to end the inning.
In case you’re really into stats: Justin Verlander is two strikeouts away from tying Kenny Rogers (1,968 Ks) for 84th place on the all-time MLB list.
Bottom 4: Nine straight retired by Tomlin
Are the Tigers hitters bound for another shutout? They were blanked Thursday in Kansas City (4-0) and have recorded one hit through four innings tonight against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin.
Nine straight Tigers have been retired by Tomlin, who has been ahead in the count to Tigers hitters and issued zero walks.
In the fourth, left fielder Justin Upton increased his Major League-leading strikeout total (26) to begin the inning. Miguel Cabrera flied out and Victor Martinez grounded out.
The Tigers have not scored a run in 13 straight innings, dating back to Wednesday’s ninth inning at Kansas City when Ian Kinsler hit an RBI single.
Top 4: Verlander 7 Ks
Is Justin Verlander destined for another double-digit strikeout game? He has seven strikeouts through four innings, but has thrown 80 pitches.
It’s 1-0 Cleveland entering the bottom of the fourth.
Verlander has struck out 10 or more batters 29 times, which is second among Tigers pitchers since at least 1914. (Mickey Lolich accomplished the feat 54 times.)
In the fourth, Verlander struck out Mike Napoli and Yan Gomes swinging (94-mph, four-seam fastball). Marlon Byrd walked, but Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out to end the inning.
Verlander has given up two hits and two walks through four innings. His lone blemish was a leadoff homer in the top of the first to Carlos Santana.
Bottom 3: Quiet bats
Yawn. Quite a boring inning for the Tigers bats, which recorded two strikeouts in the third inning against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin.
Tomlin entered tonight victorious in eight of his past nine decisions dating back to last season, and is cruising through three innings. He has given up one hit and no walks.
In the third, Tigers catcher Bobby Wilson struck out swinging, Jose Iglesias flied out to left field and Ian Kinsler struck out on a foul tip.
Top 3: Santana doubles, but stranded at second
Tigers ace Justin Verlander gave up a one-out double to Cleveland designated hitter Carlos Santana (2-for-2), but escaped trouble to end the inning. Second baseman Jason Kipnis flied out and Francisco Lindor struck out looking.
Verlander has five strikeouts through three innings (61 pitches). His lone blemish came against Santana, who belted a first-inning, leadoff homer.
It's 1-0 Cleveland entering the bottom of the third.
In 2013, Santana hit an inside-the-park home run at Comerica Park against Tigers reliever Jose Veras.
Bottom 2: Leadoff double, but no runs
Victor Martinez belted the first pitch he saw into the left-center field gap for a leadoff double, but Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin retired three straight batters to end the inning.
Right fielder J.D. Martinez grounded out, third baseman Nick Castellanos struck out swinging on an 85-mph cutter, and center fielder Tyler Collins (.167) grounded out to end the inning.
Martinez started his career with Cleveland in 2002 and left in 2009 for Boston. Since then, he’s been unfriendly to his former team, batting .336 against the Tribe.
Top 2: Verlander cruises
Tigers ace Justin Verlander has three strikeouts.
It's 1-0 Cleveland heading to the bottom of the second inning. Cleveland left fielder Marlon Byrd grounded out, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall struck out and third baseman Juan Uribe popped out.
Bottom 1: Tomlin: 1-2-3 inning
It’s a 1-2-3 inning for Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin.
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler and left fielder Justin Upton flied out to left field, and first baseman Miguel Cabrera grounded out.
Die-hard Tigers fans hope this is not a repeat of the last time they saw Tomlin, whose previous visit to Comerica Park was a dandy (for the Tribe, that is): He threw a complete game, four-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk.
Top 1: Verlander yields leadoff HR
Well, that was quick. Justin Verlander has given up a run, already. It's 1-0 Cleveland after the first inning.
Cleveland leadoff hitter Carlos Santana faced a full count and drilled a 94-mph, four-seam fastball into the right-field seats.
From there, shortstop Francisco Lindor walked with one out. But Verlander struck out first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher Yan Gomes to end the inning.
You remember Napoli, right? He hit the solo home run off Verlander in Game 3 of the 2013 ALCS at Comerica Park. It was a seventh-inning blast that gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the series.
On that day, Verlander struck out 10 and gave up four hits in eight innings, and deserved a much better fate.
Verlander seeks to end 2-year skid
Tigers ace Justin Verlander takes the mound in the top of the first inning, and seeks his first win against Cleveland in two years. Yes, two years.
Verlander was 0-2 (4.50 ERA) against Cleveland last year. His last win against the Tribe came on April 17, 2014 at Comerica Park.
The Indians will leadoff with designated hitter Carlos Santana, second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor.
How to watch: Tigers vs. Indians
The Tigers open a three-game series with the Indians at Comerica Park after being shut out by the Royals 4-0 Thursday.
Right-hander Justin Verlander (1-1, 7.16) starts for the Tigers. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (1-0, 1.80) goes for the Indians. A ceremony honoring late radio broadcaster Paul Carey will take place at 6:50 p.m.
The biggest puzzle after the team’s eight-game road trip has been the scuffling bats in the middle of the order. Justin Upton was 5-for-35, Miguel Cabrera 7-for-34, Victor Martinez 6-for-25 and J.D. Martinez 7-for-28 on the road trip where the Tigers finished 4-4. Cabrera’s lackluster performance was punctuated by a four-strikeout day at the plate while going 1-for-5 in Tuesday’s 8-6 loss to the Royals.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias’ play continues to be a bright spot, though. He’s a hitting a robust .326 (15-for-46) while making several splendid plays in the field as he did in the team’s 3-2 win over the Royals Wednesday.
Catcher James McCann is making progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle that has sidelined him since April 12. He’s eager to return, which may be prompted by the home-run spree backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia is on. He clubbed four of his team-leading five home runs on the last road swing.
Tigers vs. Indians
What: First of a three-game series
When: Friday, 7:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park
Local TV: FSD+
Internet streaming: MLB.TV (subscription required)
Local radio: 97.1 FM
Satellite radio: Sirius, SIRI 216; XM, XM 178; SiriusXM, SXM 178 (Internet 849)