“Just trying to figure out a way to win. We don’t have time to be deflated,” said manager Terry Francona after the Indians lost 10-5 to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.
Second-place Cleveland fell 8½ games back of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
Yan Gomes homered in the seventh and Carlos Santana added a two-run inside-the park home run for the Indians in the eighth.
Those homers made it 6-5, but the Tigers scored four in the bottom of the eighth to seal Cleveland’s loss as relievers Matt Albers and Cody Allen each allowed two runs in one-third of an inning.
“They kept coming at us,” Francona said. “We fought back, which was good to see, but they just kept scoring.”
Omar Infante did the most damage for Detroit with two home runs and five RBIs.
Infante hit a three-run homer in the second and added a two-run shot in the sixth for Detroit. Cleveland has lost seven in a row to the Tigers and 18 of the past 22.
“Sometimes a team’s got your number,” Nick Swisher said. “Just got to take it on the chin and keep moving. Keep fighting, that’s all we can do.”
Infante homered off Indians starter Scott Kazmir (7-7) and reliever Bryan Shaw.
“I had him 0-2, tried to bury a slider,” said Kazmir of the three-run homer he gave up. “It fell into a cement mixer, it felt like. About belt high.”
Kazmir allowed four runs in seven hits in five innings.
The Tigers were without Miguel Cabrera due to irritation of the abdominal area.
The slugger left the two previous games early and has been hampered by a strained left abdominal for more than a month. He is day to day.
“Cabrera’s huge. Everybody knows Cabrera’s a good hitter and we’re better with him in the lineup,” Infante said. “But we’ve got a good team, we’ve got good hitting, we’ve got everything, good starters. We’re a great team. We’ve got everything.”
Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez (12-7) got the win. He gave up three runs and six hits in 62/3 innings, walking one and striking out five.
Sanchez was replaced by Drew Smyly after Gomes’ home run with two outs in the seventh.
Smyly got the final out and Jose Veras pitched the eighth, allowing Santana’s inside-the park, two-run homer.
Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson tried to catch Santana’s drive to the wall by leaping as he raced back.
He got his glove on the ball, but it came out as his arm hit the wall. Jackson slumped to the ground, appearing to favor his glove arm. Santana circled the bases for his 17th homer.
Jason Kipnis, who had doubled, also scored.
Jackson remained in the game after Detroit trainer Kevin Rand and manager Jim Leyland came out to check on him.
“Just kind of jammed my shoulder a bit and knocked the wind out of me a little bit.” Jackson said. “Once I caught my wind, I was all right.”
Outfielder-DH Jason Kubel, who was acquired from Arizona on Friday, joined Cleveland on Saturday. To make room for Kubel on the roster, the Indians optioned right-hander Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus. He will be recalled on Tuesday.
* Detroit recalled the contracts of left-hander Phil Coke and infielder Hernan Perez from Triple-A Toledo and sent right-hander Jeremy Bonderman to the same team. The Tigers also optioned right-hander Luke Putkonen to Class A Lakeland. Bonderman will be recalled to Detroit on Tuesday and Putkonen will return to the major league team on Monday.