Perez faulters in ninth, Tigers win 4-2

3-run blast by Avila ends game

BY RAY ROBINSON | 8/5/2013, 11:50 p.m.
The Indians lead the game for the entire night until the ninth inning when closer, Chris Perez imploded, giving up ...
Chris Perez almost blew a 6-1 ninth inning lead on Thursday evening.

The battle for first place didn’t fare so well for the Indians as the Detroit Tigers stole one from the boys in the ninth inning of Monday nights opener of a four-game series at Progressive Field.

The Indians lead the game for the entire night until the ninth inning when closer, Chris Perez imploded, giving up four runs in the inning and sending the Tribe home as losers, 4-2.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first game of a four-game series, the Indians seemed to be on their way to another win. This win, however, would be one of the biggest wins of the season as it would have brought the Indians within 2 games of the Tigers. Instead, they are now four games back and losing ground fast.

They drew first blood in the second inning on a single by Jason Giambi that drove in Brantley, who had hit a one-out single and then stole second. Indians 1 Detroit 0.

Lightening struck for the Indians again in the fourth inning as they scored behind a double off the right wall by Carlos Santana that brought in Brantley. Brantley smashed a two out single and his speed allowed him to score on Santana’s near home run. Indians 2 Detroit 0.

Starting pitcher, Corey Kluber, started to unravel after going 7 1/3 innings without giving up a run. He struck out six, had one walk and threw 72 strikes out of the 105 pitches he threw. Still, his performance at times were shaky.

Joe Smith relieved Kluber but left the game after getting into a bit of a jam, still clinging to a two- run lead.

Closer, Chris Perez was handed the ball to start off the ninth inning. Fans leapt to their feet because Perez has been having good, solid games of late.

Prince Fielder opened the ninth with a double and later scored on a single by Victor Martinez giving Detroit the momentum that they had so desperately been looking for.

The one run lead the Indians held on to was quickly erased by a three-run shot from Alex Avila that ended the highly anticipated game and the Indians hopes.

Cody Allen relived Perez, but to no avail.

“They did a good job against us. Klub had a little problem putting players away, but it was a strong outing. As for Perez, he just missed a few, but they cost us,” said manager Terry Francona when questioned after the game. “We certainly need to be resilient and we still have a chance to do something. This season is far from over,” he crowed.

The loss is only the second loss out the past 12 games that the Indians have played. Still, they are on the losing end of the season’s battles thus far with Detroit leading the series 10-3.

The Indians, still lagging in second place behind Detroit in the AL Central fall to 62-50.

The two teams go at it again tomorrow night at 7:05 pm at Progressive Field.