CLEVELAND (AP) — Miguel Cabrera remained two home runs shy of 500, but Tyler Alexander tossed a season-high 5 1/3 scoreless innings as the Detroit Tigers edged the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Saturday night.
Cabrera went 0 for 3 with a walk, keeping his career total at 498 homers. The veteran slugger is trying to become the 28th player in major league history with 500. He also has 2,946 hits during his 19 seasons.
Alexander (2-1) allowed four hits without issuing a walk, striking out four in his seventh appearance since moving into the rotation. The left-hander had not gone longer than four innings in 30 previous outings this year.
Former Tigers catcher Wilson Ramos spoiled the shutout with a leadoff homer in the ninth off Gregory Soto, who picked up his 13th save in 14 opportunities.
Detroit opened the scoring in the second when Jeimer Candelario led off with a double and came home on a sacrifice fly by Zack Short. The Tigers made it 2-0 in the fifth on an RBI single by Akil Baddoo, plating Victor Reyes.
Indians rookie Eli Morgan (1-4) gave up two runs over seven innings in his longest start in the majors. The right-hander struck out three, retiring the final nine batters he faced and getting 15 of his 21 outs in the air.
Cleveland loaded the bases in the sixth and seventh, but Michael Fulmer and José Cisnero entered to quell the threats.
Fulmer retired José Ramirez and Franmil Reyes in order to end the sixth, while Cisnero coaxed Myles Straw into a weak grounder to wrap up the seventh.
The Indians then put two runners on to begin the eighth, only to have Cisnero get three straight outs.
Jonathan Schoop, who agreed with the Tigers before the game on a $15 million, two-year contract covering 2022 and 2023, went 2 for 4. Eric Haase also had two hits and stole a base.
Indians center fielder Straw committed his first career error in his 204th game.
The first pitch was delayed by 66 minutes because of rain.
Ramos, released by Detroit on June 20, went 3 for 4 in his debut for the Indians. The 33-year-old Venezuelan batted .200 in 35 games with the Tigers, sandwiched around two trips to the injured list.
“Baseball has a funny way of paying you back,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “Wilson is a tremendous person and I wish him the best with Cleveland. Things just don’t work out sometimes.”
Tigers: C Jake Rogers (right arm soreness), on the 10-day IL since July 19, will not be activated before Sept. 1. Hinch said Rogers has not been cleared to resume throwing, but should begin working with medicine balls soon.
Indians: 1B Bobby Bradley (left knee bruise) was not in the lineup, one day after exiting the series opener in the fifth inning. Acting manager DeMarlo Hale said the team will monitor Bradley’s status before deciding if he will be placed on the IL.
Tigers: RHP Wily Peralta (3-2, 3.47 ERA) faces Cleveland for the second time this season. He earned his first MLB victory in two years on June 30 at Progressive Field, working five innings without allowing an earned run.
Indians: RHP Zach Plesac (6-4, 4.64) takes the hill in the three-game series finale. Plesac has a 6.03 ERA in his last seven starts with just 19 strikeouts over 37 1/3 innings, but is 3-1 during the same stretch.