(The Sports Xchange) - Michael Brantley blasted home runs in the seventh and eighth innings to lift the Cleveland Indians to a 7-5 win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
“He’s just such an intelligent hitter. Having him up there in those situations, I’m glad he’s on our side. He’s something to watch,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona told reporters.
The left fielder broke a 3-3 tie with his first blast, leading off the seventh inning, as the Indians opened a two-run advantage.
Detroit scored twice in the top of the eighth to get back on level terms before Brantley went deep again in the bottom of the eighth, a two-run shot off left-hander Blaine Hardy (4-3), to give Cleveland their winning margin.
“The first homer was a fastball in that I finally caught up to and the second homer was just a reaction swing on a slider,” Brantley said.
Right-hander Cody Allen (2-4) pitched the last 1 2/3 innings to get the win.
Cleveland broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the sixth inning off right-hander Alfredo Simon.
Center fielder Abraham Almonte led off with a bunt single and a steal of second base. After catcher Yan Gomes flied out, second baseman Jose Ramirez walked, putting runners at first and second with one out.
Third baseman Giovanny Urshela lined a double into the gap in left-center field, scoring Almonte and Ramirez, and giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers countered with two runs in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, catcher James McCann and shortstop Andrew Romine both singled, and center fielder Anthony Gose drew a walk from right-hander Danny Salazar, loading the bases with one out.
Right-hander Bryan Shaw relieved Salazar and his first pitch was wild, allowing McCann to score from third to cut the Cleveland lead to 3-2.
Shaw retired left fielder Rajai Davis on an infield popup for the second out but second baseman Ian Kinsler singled to right field and Romine scored on the play.
The game did not remain tied very long, however, as Brantley hit Simon’s second pitch of the bottom of the seventh over the wall in center field for his 14th home run, giving Cleveland a 4-3 lead.
One out later, Chisenhall singled, stole second and scored on a single by Gomes.
Simon, who came into the game with a 4-0 record and 1.50 ERA in four starts against Cleveland, gave up five runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
“He’s been very successful against Cleveland this year and his pitch count was down, so I let him come out for the seventh,” Ausmus said.
“We made some adjustments against him tonight. We don’t want anyone to be 4-0 or 5-0 against us,” Brantley said.
Editing by John O'Brien