Jason Kipnis scored the go-ahead run on Prince Fielder's throwing error in the eighth inning, as the Indians pulled out a 4-2 victory over the Tigers in the second meeting of a three-game set.
Travis Hafner belted a two-run homer for Cleveland, which came back to defeat its AL Central rival for the second straight night and are currently on a 7-2 stretch.
Vinnie Pestano (2-0) worked out of bases-loaded, no-out situation in the eighth to pick up the win, while Phil Coke (1-1) gave up two unearned runs in the bottom half to take the loss.
Detroit went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 in falling for the fifth time in seven games.
Miguel Cabrera left the bases loaded in the away seventh, and the Tigers put their first three hitters on in their next at-bat.
Pestano, however, wiggled out the jam by striking out Jhonny Peralta, getting Ramon Santiago to ground into a force out at the plate and caught pinch-hitter Alex Avila looking at strike three on a payoff pitch.
The Indians took advantage of their scoring chance in their turn at the plate. Kipnis started the rally with a one-out single and raced to third when Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double off the left-field wall.
Coke opted to pitch to Hafner with first base open, and Hafner tapped one to Fielder, whose throw home bounced well in front of Avila and got away, allowing Kipnis to score.
"There was a quick runner at third...Unfortunately I didn't get it to [Avila] in his chest," recalled Fielder.
Asdrubal Cabrera crossed the plate on Carlos Santana's sacrifice fly to center, and Chris Perez retired the top of Detroit's lineup in order to secure his 15th save.
"When [Pestano] got out of [the jam], the crowd erupted. It might have given the offense a lift," Perez said.
Both teams scored twice in the sixth inning after going scoreless in the first five frames against Cleveland starter Zach McAllister and his counterpart, Doug Fister.
In the top half, Andy Dirks lined one just out of the reach of Shin-Soo Choo to double in Quintin Berry, then scored on Fielder's sharp ground ball to short after Santana couldn't handle Asdrubal Cabrera's short-hop to the plate.
Cleveland used the long ball to tie it in the bottom half, as Hafner crushed one deep into seats in right-center. Kipnis also scored on Hafner's sixth home run of the season.
Berry was called up from Triple-A Toledo and went 1-for-5 in his debut. To make room on the roster, the Tigers designated the contract of pitcher Collin Balester for assignment...McAllister surrendered two runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 frames, while Fister yielded two runs on five hits on 6 2/3 innings...The Indians only struck out three times. Detroit pitchers had fanned eight or more batters in 12 straight games coming in.