DETROIT (AP) — Russell Branyan and Shin-Soo Choo hit homers, lifting the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
Jake Westbrook (3-3) gave up a run on five hits and a walk over 7 2-3 innings.
Chris Perez stranded two runners in the eighth by getting Magglio Ordonez to pop up. Kerry Wood gave up an unearned run on Alex Avila's RBI single after Branyan's two-out error at first base, letting the Tigers pull within a run before earning his third save in four chances.
Jeremy Bonderman (2-3) didn't allow a run until Branyan hit a solo home run in the fifth. Choo, who was in an 0-for-19 slump, followed with a solo shot the next inning. Mark Grudzielanek's RBI single in the eighth gave Cleveland a two-run cushion it needed.
Westbrook gave up a combined nine runs in his two previous starts, but didn't have any trouble with the offensively challenged Tigers until the eighth inning.
Detroit scored only one run in its previous game, a loss to the Oakland Athletics, after getting shut out by them on Saturday.
It has lost eight of ten — scoring a combined 18 runs in those losses — since reaching a season-high seven games over .500 on May 20 and sharing the AL Central lead with the Minnesota Twins.
The Tigers blew a chance to make the series opener with the Indians interesting in the eighth inning, then did in the ninth before coming up short on a comeback attempt.
Westbrook hit pinch-hitter Don Kelly and shortstop Jason Donald's throwing error allowed Ramon Santiago to get to second after his groundout set up a potential double play. Grudzielanek made a solid play defensively on Austin Jackson's grounder up the middle, preventing Santiago from scoring, and Johnny Damon drew a two-out walk to end Westbrook's night.
Perez entered to face Ordonez with runners at the corners and retired him easily to keep the two run lead.
Bonderman hit a batter, Travis Hafner, in the top of the inning and the Indians took advantage. Hafner advanced on Jhonny Peralta's single and Branyan's fly, then scored on Grudzielanek's second hit of the night.
Wood got Miguel Cabrera to ground out and Brennan Boesch to strike out in the ninth. Branyan misplayed Carlos Guillen's grounder, keeping the game going with Cleveland's second error of the game, and Wood walked Brandon Inge to bring Avila — potentially the winning run — to the plate.
Avila's RBI single on the 10th pitch he saw pulled Detroit within a run and couldn't get closer because Santiago ended the game with a flyout.
NOTES: Detroit dealt the LHP Dontrelle Willis and a large part of his $12 million salary to Arizona for RHP Billy Buckner, who was sent to Triple-A Toledo. ... Cleveland was 9-18 in May with an AL-worst 5.47 ERA. ... The Tigers had won seven straight and 10 of 11 games at home against the Indians. ... Bonderman was 1-1 with a 1.33 ERA in his previous five outings.