DETROIT – Carl Pavano knew he wasn’t at his best in the first few innings Saturday night.
His teammates kept him in the game until he got rolling.
Pavano took advantage of three early double plays and three early runs and helped the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4.
“When things go your way early in a game, you can build some momentum,” said Pavano, who allowed seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks. “I got some runs and the guys made some great plays behind me, and I was able to go from there.”
Pavano didn’t allow a run after the second inning, but needed some help to get out of the third. The Tigers had runners on first and third with one out when Clete Thomas took off with Ryan Raburn at the plate.
Raburn struck out, and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera cut off Victor Martinez’s throw to second in order to catch Marcus Thames trying for a delayed steal of home.
“I saw Thomas going, so I threw to second,” Martinez said. “Asdrubal made a great play – he saw what was happening and did the right thing.”
Pavano left after eight innings with a three-run lead, but Kerry Wood gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera before retiring the next three batters for his 12th save.
“Kerry did a great job of righting himself,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “He walked a guy and then he gives up a homer to one of the best hitters in the league, but then he settled down and got the next three guys. That’s good to see.”
Cleveland won for just the seventh time in 25 games, while the Tigers had their three-game winning streak snapped.
“That was some good baseball out there – that’s one of the best all-around games we’ve played this season,” Wedge said. “We pitched well, we made some nice plays, and we hit the ball well.”
Armando Galarraga (5-8) took the loss, his first since June 13. He gave up four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the first on a pair of singles before a sacrifice fly by Martinez, but Detroit took a 2-1 advantage in the second on Raburn’s RBI triple and a run-scoring single by Brandon Inge.
The Indians, though, took the lead for good with a two-out rally in the third. Grady Sizemore tripled and, after walks to Martinez and Shin-Soo Choo loaded the bases, Hafner hit a two-run single.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was frustrated by Galarraga’s performance in the inning.
“He may have cost himself the game, because he got two quick outs and then he pitched like a solo home run was going to win the game,” he said. “It’s the third inning, and you walk two guys – there’s no excuse for that. You can’t pitch like that up here. It won’t work.”
Cleveland added an insurance run in the seventh on Cabrera’s RBI single, and another in the eighth on doubles by Choo and Jhonny Peralta.
Detroit OF Carlos Guillen, sidelined since May 5 with a shoulder injury, will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Class A Lakeland.
• As part of Negro Leagues Weekend, the Tigers wore uniforms based on the 1919 Detroit Stars, while the Indians were dressed as the 1948 Cleveland Buckeyes. Those teams never faced each other, as the Stars had folded several years before the Buckeyes were formed.
• Cleveland had lost six straight to Detroit, with its only other win this season coming May 1. In both games, Pavano beat Galarraga at Comerica Park with Wood getting a save.
• Who: Cleveland at Detroit
• Time: 1:05 p.m.
• Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
• Pitchers: Ohka (0-2, 5.65 ERA) vs. Verlander (9-4, 3.59)
• TV/Radio: Channel 3, STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM