CLEVELAND – Clinging to any hope of staying in the AL Central race, the Cleveland Indians needed a big performance from their starting pitcher Tuesday night.
Fausto Carmona didn't come close to giving it to them.
The right-hander allowed five runs in the first inning and didn't get through the second in a 10-1 drubbing that dropped the Indians 8½ games behind first-place Detroit in the division.
"We were never in it," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Fausto didn't have it from the get-go."
That's not the end of the bad news for Cleveland, which faces Cy Young Award candidate Justin Verlander in Wednesday's series finale.
Trailing by 6½ games when the series began Monday, the Indians had to win at least twice to keep the race interesting. Instead, Cleveland has lost six straight to the Tigers, who are 15-4 since Aug. 19, when they began a three-game sweep of the Indians at Comerica Park.
Acta isn't ready to give up, but he might want to get working on his concession speech.
"It was a series we needed to win," he said. "It puts us in a pretty bad spot. Anything's possible, but we're going to have to win an awful lot of games and need a lot of help from the other side."
Carmona retired the game's first two hitters, but the next seven reached base. Any realistic chance the Indians had of tying the series ended right there.
"Before you hit and you're already down 5-0, that's not easy," Acta said. "We knew that we had 27 outs to go, but before you get your first swing and you know you need to get at least six to win the ballgame, that's tough."
The lead reached 8-0 by the time the book was closed on Carmona (6-14), who lasted 1 1-3 innings, the shortest start by an Indians pitcher this season and his shortest since getting only two outs on Sept. 9, 2009. Carmona threw 41 pitches and yielded eight hits and seven runs.
"Everyone knew it was an important game," he said. "It felt bad to get knocked out that early."
Victor Martinez did major damage for the second straight day. The former Indian, whose three-run homer off Ubaldo Jimenez was the decisive blow in Monday's 4-2 win, had three RBIs, including a two-run single in the first.
Martinez isn't ready to count out the Indians.
"They definitely have earned a lot of respect," he said. "They have been playing their butts off and opened a lot of eyes. It's not over yet."
Martinez was Carmona's catcher for three seasons in Cleveland.
"I caught Fausto for a long time and know that when he gives you a ball to hit, you better hit it," Martinez said. "If you miss, he can come back and get you."
Rick Porcello (13-8) gave up three hits and one run over 6 1-3 innings.
The Indians took six of the first eight in the season series, but that momentum is a distant memory. Cleveland has lost four of six and is 40-54 since holding a seven-game lead in the Central with a 30-15 record on May 23.
Delmon Young drew a two-out walk and Detroit then strung together six consecutive singles in the first. Carmona also committed a balk during the rally. Martinez had two RBIs and Jhonny Peralta, Don Kelly and Ramon Santiago one apiece.
Doubles by Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera made it 6-0 with one out in the second. Cabrera had three of Detroit's 15 hits.
Chad Durbin came on and threw two wild pitches, walked two and gave up a sacrifice fly to Peralta to make it 8-0.
NOTES: 2B Jason Kipnis, activated before the game, was 1 for 3 before being pulled in the seventh because of the lopsided margin. He had been out with a strained hamstring. ... Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco will have Tommy John surgery on Sept. 14 and likely will miss all of 2012. ... Cleveland recalled INF Luis Valbuena from Triple-A Columbus. ... Verlander (21-5, 2.34 ERA) will seek to win his 10th straight start, opposing RHP Justin Masterson (11-8, 2.92 ERA). Masterson is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA in his career against Detroit. ... Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden and rookie WR Greg Little made ceremonial first pitches. Haden wore a jersey that was half Indians and half Browns with the name "Sizecoy" on the back for OF Grady Sizemore and QB Colt McCoy.