CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Isaac Paredes hit a grand slam for his first major league homer and the Detroit Tigers snapped a 20-game losing streak against Cleveland by beating the Indians 10-5 on Friday night.
The Tigers also ended a nine-game slide that included being swept at home last weekend by the Indians.
The 21-year-old Paredes connected in the fourth inning when the Tigers scored seven times off Adam Plutko (1-2), who was making his third start since taking over Mike Clevinger’s spot in the rotation.
Clevinger was recently demoted along with teammate Zach Plesac for breaking team coronavirus protocols.
Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer in the fourth as the Tigers topped the Indians for the first time since April 10, 2019.
Cleveland’s 20-game dominance of Detroit was the second-longest streak against one opponent since division play began in 1969. Baltimore holds the record with 23 consecutive wins over Kansas City in 1969-70.
Víctor Reyes also homered and Rony Garcia (1-0) picked up the win for the Tigers, who got off to a surprising 9-4 start before staggering.
Franmil Reyes hit a two-run homer as the Indians had their winning streak stopped at six. They were again without manager Terry Francona. He underwent a medical procedure Friday and missed his 15th game this season due to poor health.
Down 5-0 after starter Michael Fulmer got touched up early, the Tigers finally had the kind of inning a team needs to snap a long losing streak.
They chased Plutko with the seven-run outburst, the last four scoring on Paredes’ slam, which came four days after the third baseman made his big league debut.
Plutko hurt himself with two walks and a hit batter in the inning. After he put Miguel Cabrera on leading off, Schoop followed with his sixth homer, a towering shot that left fielder Domingo Santana had trouble tracking and then covered his head with his glove for protection.
The Tigers loaded the bases on the hit batter, walk and two singles before Paredes lined a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left.
The Indians’ winning streak had coincided with last week’s team meeting in Detroit that centered on Clevinger and Plesac, who broke MLB and team rules when they left the team’s hotel in Chicago and risked exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
The team demoted the pair to its alternate training facility. Clevinger and Plesac are eligible to return next week, but it’s not a given they’ll be back that soon.
DRUMMING UP SUPPORT
During the streak, Cleveland’s players have been drumming on coolers, plastic buckets and whatever else might be in the dugout to keep their energy level up. With no fans to make noise, the Indians are being resourceful.
Clevinger and Plesac both pitched this week at Lake County to stay ready for when the Indians return them to the roster.
President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti wouldn’t commit to the right-handers coming back next week — they’re eligible to return on Aug 24 — and said the wishes of their teammates will be factored into any decisions.
“It’s the best 28 guys,” he said. “It’s the best team. That’s ultimately what we’re seeking to build. Obviously talent is a consideration in that, but it’s not all about talent.”
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin did not play after straining his right hamstring while fouling off a pitch on Thursday against the White Sox.
Top prospect Triston McKenzie makes his major league debut for Cleveland. The hard-throwing right-hander missed last season with a shoulder injury. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire got a quick scouting report on McKenzie from one of the clubhouse attendants. “I know he’s about 6-foot-5 and he’s really skinny,” Gardenhire cracked. Detroit will start Matthew Boyd (0-3).