Chris McCosky , The Detroit News
Cleveland – It didn’t take long for the emotions to rise to the surface.
The Tigers were on edge to start with. Having been drubbed by the Indians 14 times last season, they came in looking for some retribution.
But when the first pitch Indians starter Trevor Bauer threw to Miguel Cabrera was high and tight – well, it was on. You might remember Bauer’s start against the Tigers at Progressive Field last September. He drilled Ian Kinsler (in the head), Victor Martinez and Cabrera in that game.
The Tigers hadn’t forgotten.
Cabrera immediately turned and started yelling at the Indians dugout. After the inning, Cabrera continued his dialogue with the bench and had to be restrained by home plate umpire Clint Fagan and third base coach Dave Clark.
BOX SCORE: Tigers 7, Indians 6
Both benches were warned, which was a surprise to Tigers starter Daniel Norris, who had yet to throw a pitch in the game.
Cabrera got, if not the last laugh, then the loudest laugh. He deposited a Bauer pitch into the seats in right field – a three-run home run in the fifth inning – jumpstarting the Tigers’ 7-6 win Friday night.
It was Cabrera’s second home run in two days and his 24th at Progressive Field, most by any visiting player. The Tigers have homered in all 10 games this season – a franchise record.
Cabrera reached base four times, walking twice and singling.
Alex Avila, who was 6 for 16 in his career against Bauer before Friday, chased him from the game in the sixth, blasting a 406-foot, two-run home run to left field.
Jose Iglesias, who had three hits Thursday, had three more Friday, knocked in the Tigers’ first run and scored twice.
Norris, who was the Tigers’ starter last year in Bauer’s beanball-fest, had all the offense he needed.
First, he responded to all the hoopla in the first inning by putting the Indians out in order on just nine pitches. He dispatched the first eight hitters in succession – getting No. 8 by deflecting a liner back through box by Roberto Perez into a 1-4-3 out.
And even though his control was spotty – he walked four – his stuff was almost unhittable. He gave up just two hits and struck out five in his six shutout innings.
It was Norris’ 21st straight start allowing three runs or fewer. It was also his 16th straight road start without a loss – that’s the fourth longest streak in baseball.
Alex Wilson worked through a walk and a rare fielding misplay by Cabrera in the seventh. With former Tiger Austin Jackson on first and one out, Carlos Santana hit a ground ball wide of first. Cabrera reached it with a dive, then tried to get the force at second from his knees. The throw pulled Iglesias off the bag at second.
If he could do it over, Cabrera would have taken the easy out at first with a 6-0 lead.
But Wilson was undaunted. He retired the next two hitters – Francisco Lindor and Brandon Guyer – on two pitches.
Kyle Ryan ran into a spot of bother in the eighth. He loaded the bases (two singles and a walk) with one out. Justin Wilson, whom manager Brad Ausmus hoped to avoid in a 6-0 game, had to clean up the mess.
One run scored on a ground out and, after walking Jackson, Wilson struck out Santana with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Tigers restored the six-run lead in the top of the ninth on an RBI double by Nick Castellanos. It ended up being a huge run.
William Cuevas, recalled from Toledo Thursday, gave up three hits, a walk and a run, registering only one out, before being replaced by closer Francisco Rodriguez.
After striking out Abraham Almonte, Rodriguez was tagged for a grand slam home run by pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall – making it a one-run game.
But that was it. Rodriguez struck out Jackson to end the game.