DETROIT - Justin Verlander worked eight sturdy innings and Will Rhymes collected a career-high four hits and scored three times in Detroit’s 8-1 romp over Cleveland to complete a three-game sweep.
Verlander (14-8) yielded a lone run on seven hits while walking one and striking out eight for the Tigers, who lead the season series, 9-6.
“Obviously, it was important for the team to bounce back,” said Verlander of the sweep for the Tigers, who had lost three in a row in entering the weekend. “If we’re going to make a run at this thing, all of us need to throw well. We (starting pitchers) need to give us a chance to win night in and night out. It was bigger for the team, not as much for me personally.”
Rhymes finished 4-for-5 with a run batted in, Jhonny Peralta drove in three runs and Brennan Boesch added a two-run double for Detroit, which continued its mastery of Cleveland at Comerica Park by downing the visitors for the eight time in nine games this season and for the 15th time in the last 17 meetings since May 2, 2009.
Jeanmar Gomez (3-2) had the first shaky outing of his big league career and suffered the loss after getting tagged for eight runs — seven earned — on 11 hits over just three frames for the Indians, who finished their road trip with one win in six games.
Shin Soo-Choo got the visitors on the board with a two-out solo home run in the first but the lead was a short-lived one.
Austin Jackson opened the home half of the inning with a single, moved to second on a Rhymes base hit and scored on a Miguel Cabrera single into centerfield.
Rhymes sped his way to third base and Cabrera advanced to second on the throw to third which led the Indians to intentionally pass Boesch to load the bases for Peralta, who delivered a two-run single.
Gomez was able to avoid any further damage in the frame by getting Don Kelly to foul out and Gerald Laird to ground out.
Jackson singled to open the second and moved to third when Rhymes followed with a double. Johnny Damon struck out leading the Tribe to put Cabrera on with a free pass for Boesch, who roped his two-run double into the right field corner to push the Tigers advantage to 5-1. Peralta then followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Cabrera to extend the lead to five.
Detroit continued to pour it on in the third as Laird scored on a single by Rhymes, who advanced to third base on a fielding error by center fielder Trevor Crowe and then scored when Damon singled to make it an 8-1 contest.
Verlander allowed only two runners to reach second base the rest of the way in picking up his sixth straight winning decision over Cleveland since May 3, 2009. Alfredo Figaro retired the side in order in the ninth to finish the game.
“We were overmatched by their pitching staff in these three games,” said Tribe skipper Manny Acta after the loss. “Those three arms they threw at us, we couldn’t do anything against them offensively and that was the difference.”
Gomez had gone at least five innings and had not allowed more than two earned runs in each of his first five big league turns...He had give up a total of just six earned runs over 29 1/3 innings before Sunday...Gomez defeated the Tigers in his major league debut on July 18, holding them to two runs on five hits over seven innings...Chris Perez threw a scoreless eighth inning for the Tribe and has allowed just two earned runs over his last 20 2/3 frames...Choo finished 3-for-4...The Indians were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, while the Tigers were 6-for-12...Verlander is 9-3 at home this season and evened his career mark against the Indians at 10-10...Cabrera has knocked in 45 runs in 51 games against the Tribe since joining the Tigers in 2008. Jackson went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to eight games in which he has totaled 14 hits...He has hit safely in 12 of 14 games against Cleveland this season, collecting 26 hits...Jackson has 145 hits on the season, the most for a Tigers rookie since 1961...Detroit’s Brandon Inge went 1-for-3 and is two hits shy of 1,000 for his career.