Not even the return of Grady Sizemore could prevent the Indians from falling further back in the American League Central.
Cleveland will try to prevent dropping another game off the pace of the first- place Detroit Tigers when the two clubs continue a three-game series.
The Tigers arrived in Cleveland off a three-game sweep of the third-place White Sox and were looking to do the same to their other close competitor. Though the teams battled, it was Detroit's Doug Fister who made the difference by striking a career-high 13 batters over eight innings in a 4-2 win.
Fister got the better of Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who did not allow a hit through the first three innings prior to an ill-fated fourth. Following a single by Delmon Young, Jimenez walked Miguel Cabrera before Victor Martinez belted a three-run homer.
"I couldn't throw a strike to [Cabrera]," said Jimenez. "The pitch to [Martinez], I was trying to go away and I think it got too much of the plate."
Fister, meanwhile, allowed two runs -- one earned -- on four hits to lock down the win and up Detroit's edge over Cleveland in the standings to 7 1/2 games.
"I thought both starters were great," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "Both starters were really good today and that was key. Our guy was just a little bit better than theirs."
Though the Tigers have won their last five meetings with the Indians, they have won just twice in seven trips to Cleveland this year.
Kosuke Fukudome hit a homer and Sizemore returned from the disabled list to knock in a run for the Indians, who have alternated wins and loses in past six games. Sizemore had surgery to repair a sports hernia on July 21, just four days after departing a game at Baltimore with a right knee contusion
Tigers starter Rick Porcello faces a tough task tonight as he looks to solve his 2011 issues with the Indians.
Though the 23-year-old is 4-1 with a 4.06 earned run average in his career versus the Indians, he has lasted only 3 2/3 innings in each of his past two outings against them while allowing 13 runs in that span. He was drilled for eight runs at Cleveland on Aug. 10 in a loss, then got a no-decision on Aug. 21 after allowing five runs in the fourth inning of the defeat.
Porcello is 1-0 in two starts since that last outing and is coming off a no- decision against the Royals on Wednesday. He allowed four runs in seven innings of work.
"The offense has picked us up all year," said the right-hander, who is 12-8 with a 5.01 ERA on the season.
Heading to the hill for the Indians this evening will be Fausto Carmona, who has lost three of his past four decisions and is coming off a shutout loss to the Athletics. The righty was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits over six innings of the 7-0 decision.
Carmona fell to 6-13 with a 4.84 ERA in 27 starts this year, including just a 2-7 mark at home. The 27-year-old lost to Detroit when he last faced them on Aug. 11, yielding three earned runs over seven frames.
Lifetime in this matchup, Carmona is 8-5 with a 3.50 ERA.