Detroit, MI – Michael Brantley belted a three-run homer and Casey Kotchman added a two-run blast as the Cleveland Indians downed the Detroit Tigers, 9-6, in the middle test of a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Johnny Damon added a two-run single and Shin-Soo Choo clubbed three hits and scored three times as the Tribe topped the Tigers for the fifth straight time.
Jeanmar Gomez (4-4) got the win despite allowing six runs on seven hits and one walk over five frames, while Chris Perez fired a scoreless ninth to record his 19th save of the season.
Max Scherzer (5-4) surrendered eight runs -- five earned -- on seven hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. Miguel Cabrera and Don Kelly both hit solo shots, but the Tigers lost for the seventh time in nine games.
The Indians took advantage of a Detroit miscue to grab the lead in the first.
Choo singled to start the game before Scherzer retired the next two batters on flyouts. Carlos Santana followed with a lazy fly ball to right field, but the ball popped out of Brennan Boesch's glove to keep the inning alive.
Brantley then made Boesch pay for the mistake, crushing a fastball deep into the right-field seats to give the Tribe a 3-0 lead.
"I think with that error in the first, giving up that home run, it kind of took some wind out of his sail," remarked Damon about his club's ability to get to Scherzer.
Prince Fielder led off the second with a fly ball that carried deep to the wall in left, but Damon timed his jump perfectly, snagging the ball just above the yellow padding on the wall to rob Fielder of a home run.
Detroit got its first hit of the game with one out in the third on Kelly's first home run of the year into right-center field, cutting the margin to 3-1.
"It was good for us to put some runs back up right after they put up three, but it wasn't enough," said Kelly.
Cleveland pressed its lead to four in the fourth as Kotchman followed Damon's one-out walk with a towering fly ball over the right-field fence, but Cabrera answered in the bottom half by launching Gomez's first offering the opposite way to bring the home team within 5-2.
The Indians used three consecutive singles to extend their lead in the fifth as Choo led off with a base hit and Asdrubal Cabrera followed suit. Jason Kipnis then slapped a chopper to shortstop and beat the throw to first as Choo crossed the plate to grab a 6-2 edge.
An intentional walk to Brantley two batters later loaded the bases for Damon, who stroked a two-run single into the gap in left-center field to chase Scherzer from the game with his team trailing, 8-2.
Detroit battled back in the bottom half as Jhonny Peralta scorched a leadoff double into the right-field corner and Bryan Holaday followed two batters later with his first big league hit on a single into left.
Quintin Berry then made it a five-run game, slapping a double down the third base line before Ramon Santiago's RBI groundout cut the deficit to 8-4.
Miguel Cabrera kept the rally alive with a double of his own to plate Berry and came around to score when Fielder punched a single into left to cap a four-run bottom of the fifth that found the Tigers behind by two runs.
Cleveland got a run back in the sixth as Choo slapped a one-out double the opposite way and quickly scored on Asdrubal Cabrera's single to right.
A trio of Cleveland relievers then blanked the Tigers before Perez worked around a one-out triple to retire Detroit in the ninth.
Damon was activated from the paternity list earlier in the day after missing two games...Brantley extended his hit-streak to 14 games...Perez has now converted 19 consecutive saves...The Tigers placed catcher Alex Avila on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring...Holaday was called up for Avila and made his Major League debut. He finished 1-for-4.