DETROIT – Justin Verlander pitched eight strong innings, rookie Will Rhymes had four hits and the Detroit Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with an 8-1 win Sunday.
The Tigers outscored Cleveland 19-3 in the lopsided weekend series, and have had two three-game winning streaks and a three-game losing streak in their last nine games.
The Indians finished a six-game road trip to Kansas City and Detroit with just one win and are a season-worst 24 games under .500 (50-74).
Verlander (14-8), who has struggled with high pitch counts early in games this season, didn't throw his 100th pitch Sunday until the eighth inning. He gave up a run in the first before shutting the Indians down for the rest of the game, and finished with eight strikeouts against seven hits and a walk.
Rhymes, in the lineup while Carlos Guillen recovers from a knee injury, had a hit and scored in each of the first three innings.
Cleveland led 1-0 after Shin-Soo Choo's homer in the first, but Detroit chased rookie Jeanmar Gomez with eight runs in the first three innings.
Detroit's quick start was aided by a pair of failed intentional walks in the first two innings. In the first, after Miguel Cabrera's RBI single, Cleveland manager Manny Acta walked Brennan Boesch to load the bases for former Indian Jhonny Peralta, who answered with a two-run single.
In the next inning, Acta walked Cabrera to pitch to Boesch, again with the bases loaded. This time, Boesch hit a two-run double, followed by Peralta's sacrifice fly.
Rhymes and Johnny Damon added RBI singles in the third to make it 8-1. Neither team scored in the final six innings.
Gomez (3-2) left after the third, having allowed as many runs as he had in his first five starts combined. Seven of the eight runs were earned, to go along with 11 hits and three walks.
NOTES: The crowd of 35,104 moved the Tigers' season attendance to 2,004,237 — the sixth straight year that they have surpassed 2 million fans and the 13th time in franchise history. ... Jayson Nix made the defensive play of the game, catching Don Kelly's foul pop before flipping over a railing and landing on his head in a camera area at the end of the Tigers dugout. Nix hung on despite the rough landing and was uninjured. Nix had reached deep into the same part of the dugout to catch another Kelly popup earlier in the game. ... Indians OF Michael Brantley missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle and remains day to day.