Bieber struck out 12 and Martin made a straight steal of home against a right-handed pitcher as the Cleveland Indians (36-33) beat Detroit, 4-2, for their seventh win in the last 10 games.
Martin’s straight steal of home was the first by an Indians player since Grady Sizemore did it against Toronto at Rogers Centre on Aug. 26, 2005. It came at an opportune time, with two out in the eighth, to give the Indians a two-run lead. The Tigers had just scored twice in the seventh to turn the Tribe’s 3-0 lead into a one-run game.
“Leonys faked it the first time, and you could tell the kid didn’t see him, then the second time he went and got a great jump — that’s a heck of a run for us right there,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I actually thought he had a good jump. I thought Leoyns was going to be safe. It wasn’t like he was out there freelancing. He was going to be safe.”
Bieber (6-2, 3.92) retired 12 straight batters before Miguel Cabrera started the fifth with a single. He retired the next six batters before running into problems in the seventh. Bieber, 4-0 in his last six starts, is 2-0 against the Tigers this year with a 1.23 ERA.
Martin, who hit a three-run homer on Friday, opened the eighth with a double against the team that traded him to the Indians last July. He caught Stewart napping in left field when he advanced to third on Francisco Lindor’s fly ball. After Oscar Mercado grounded out to third, Martin stole home with Carlos Santana at the plate.
Bieber retired the first two batters in the eighth before Oliver Perez took over. He allowed two runs on four hits in 7 2/3 innings. Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 20 chances.
The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the fifth off right-hander Nick Ramirez (3-1).
Oscar Mercado start the inning with a single that was deflected by Ramirez. Santana moved him to second with a single and Jordan Luplow delivered him with a double to the track in right. Nick Castellanos, battling the rain, lost track of the ball as it bounced on the warning track.
Jose Ramirez made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly that scored Santana from third. Luplow, who took third on a ground out by Jason Kipnis, scored when third baseman Dawel Lugo couldn’t handle Kevin Plawecki’s hard grounder. Plawecki was credited with a hit.
The Tigers made it 3-2 with two runs in the seventh against Bieber. They were the first runs Bieber has allowed against the Tigers this year in 14 2/3 innings.
Christin Stewart opened the inning with a walk. Castellanos and Cabrera loaded the bases with consecutive singles. Brandon Dixon delivered Stewart and Castellanos with a single through the middle. Bieber righted himself by striking out Harold Castro and getting former Tribe farmhand Ronny Rodriguez to hit into a 5-4-5 double play.
“Even in the one inning where he had the first-pitch walk, he got back in the strike zone and our infielders — just a heads up double play by Jose,” Francona said. “That really helped a lot, too. But Shane was in command under some tough conditions. He looked a lot more like himself.”
Lefty Gregory Soto started for the Tigers and pitched four scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked four in his first appearance against the Tribe.
The Indians conclude this three-game series against the Tigers at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday with Trevor Bauer (4-6, 3.71) taking the mound for the Tribe. The Tigers will go with Spencer Turnbull (3-5, 2.78) with SportsTime Ohio and WLKR 95.3 FM carrying the game.
Bauer, coming off a 7 2/3 inning no-decision against the Reds, is 0-1 against Detroit this season and 8-6 with a 5.67 ERA in his career. Turnbull will be making his third appearance and second start against the Tribe in his career. He’s 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA against the Tribe.