Nova implosion lifts Indians to 18th win over Tigers, 10-5

Detroit – Eighteen.

And counting.

The Tigers’ chronic inability to beat the Cleveland Indians has extended into 2020.

With a six-run fourth inning, the Indians Friday night beat the Tigers for the 18th straight time, 10-5 at Comerica Park.

It is the second-longest losing streak against one opponent since 1969, trailing only the Orioles 23-game win streak over the Royals in 1969-1970 and the Yankees currently active streak of 18 straight against the Orioles.

This one looked promising for the home team for a quick minute. A two-run home run by Niko Goodrum in the bottom of the third gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. It was Goodrum’s four home run of the season and at 426 feet to right field, the longest of his career.

But what is fast-becoming a worrisome trend, the Tigers starting pitcher couldn’t keep the game in check. 

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Ivan Nova throws the ball in the first inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park in Detroit, August 14, 2020.

Ivan Nova seemed to be in good form. He’d made one tragically bad pitch in the first three innings, hanging an 0-2 curveball to Franmil Reyes in the second. Reyes rocket-shipped that pitch 462 feet, clearing the second row of shrubs and hitting off the ivy in center field.

But he got the next six outs, including a clean, six-pitch third inning.

His collapse was sudden.

The first five hitters reached before he recorded an out, and each one ultimately scored. Nova gave up three singles, a walk and a three-run home run to Domingo Santana.

In four starts, the 33-year-old Nova has an 8.52 ERA. In fact, the Tigers starting pitching as a whole has an ERA of 7.47 this year. Take Spencer Turnbull out of the mix (2-0, 2.00) and the rest of the starters have an ERA of 9.28.

Daniel Norris made his second appearance out of the bullpen and looked very sharp retiring the last five batters he faced. His fastball touched 95 mph and was sitting at 93. His slider and change-up were also effective. Of his 32 pitches, 22 were strikes

Norris was expected to follow limited-innings starter Michael Fulmer on Sunday against the Indians. The Tigers will have to adjust that plan. Rony Garcia would be an option.

A couple other points of light for the Tigers:

  • First baseman Jeimer Candelario had two hits including a triple. After going 0 for 17 in July, he’s hitting .393 in August (13-for-33, two doubles, a league-leading three triples and a home run).
  • — Victor Reyes, starting in left field and batting second, had a triple and a single.
  • — Catcher Austin Romine continues to produce with runners in scoring position. He drove home Candelario with a two-out single in the sixth. He is now 6 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
  • –Cameron Maybin, in his first game off the injured list, clubbed a 429-foot home run into the visitor’s bullpen in left-center field. 

The Tigers fall to 9-8 on the season.