Cleveland, OH – Justin Masterson outdueled Justin Verlander on Thursday afternoon and the Indians defeated the Tigers, 2-1, to complete a three-game sweep.
Verlander (5-2), who took a no-hitter in to the ninth inning in his last outing, allowed Shin-Soo Choo to lead off Thursday's series finale with a home run. In all, he went eight innings, struck out seven and walked just one batter, but also surrendered Jose Lopez's RBI single in the fourth.
"I felt like maybe if I was able to go out there and just dominate an inning and get our guys back out there quick maybe something would happen," said Verlander.
Masterson (2-3), meanwhile, gave up one run on five hits over seven frames. He struck out four, walked five, and earned his first home win of the season.
Vinnie Pestano tossed a scoreless eighth and Chris Perez worked around a one- out single in the ninth to record his 16th save.
At 26-18, the Indians are now a season-high eight games over .500.
Miguel Cabrera nearly homered in the first inning when he belted a fastball off the top of the wall in right field. He only managed a single on the play and although Price Fielder followed with a base hit, Delmon Young flew out to end the threat. Cabrera and Fielder represented two of 10 runners the Tigers left on base in the game, as Masterson escaped several jams to earn his first career win against the club.
In the second, after Choo gave the Indians a 1-0 lead with a solo shot to right, Brennan Boesch reached with a leadoff double. He moved to third on a groundout but was thrown out at the plate by Lopez on Jhonny Peralta's grounder to third base.
Detroit tied the game an inning later when Quintin Berry doubled and later scored on Cabrera's groundout, but Cleveland regained the advantage in the fourth.
Michael Brantley generated the go-ahead run, reaching with a two-out bloop single and stealing second before coming home on Lopez's soft liner to right.
The Tigers had runners on first and second in both the sixth and the seventh innings, but Masterson escaped each time. He induced Peralta into an inning- ending double play in the former before retiring three straight batters, including Cabrera and Fielder, in the latter.
"He did walk a few guys but he hung in there real tough, especially in that last inning against their two best guys," Indians manager Manny Acta said about Masterson. "He pitched like a front of the rotation guy."
Masterson was 0-4 in 10 careers games -- seven starts -- against the Tigers before Thursday...Lopez has hit safely in 10 straight games...The Indians bullpen combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the series...Verlander had won each of his previous 13 road decisions prior to Thursday...Detroit manager Jim Leyland and first base coach Tom Brookens were ejected in the fifth inning.