CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians came into their crucial series against Detroit with a plenty of momentum.
Four days later, their playoff hopes have taken a major hit.
Cleveland rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first inning against reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to tie the score, only to be overwhelmed by a seven-run onslaught in the 11th for an 11-4 loss Thursday night.
“It’s disappointing,” manager Terry Francona said. “We’re down 4-0 before we can take a deep breath and you’ve got Scherzer on the mound. That’s not a real good formula. And they battled back so hard to tie the game.”
The Indians dropped three of four in the series, including a crushing 4-2 loss Tuesday when closer Cody Allen gave up a three-run homer to J.D. Martinez in the ninth inning.
Cleveland is six games behind Kansas City in the AL Central and five games back for a wild card. The Indians have fought back from adversity several times this season and Francona is confident that will continue.
“They’ll be OK,” he said. “After the tough loss the other night they came back. There was energy. There’s nothing else to do. They’ll come out and play.”
Josh Tomlin (6-9) gave up five runs and three hits in one-third of an inning. Francona had already used five relievers and turned to Tomlin, who returned to the team Tuesday after being on the paternity list as his wife gave birth to their first child.
Eugenio Suarez’s two-run single with the bases loaded broke the tie. Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer and Andrew Romine, who grounded out to start the inning, added a two-run single.
“His best pitch is his curveball and he didn’t have a good feel for it,” Francona said. “He just got back from his wife having a baby, so his routine was interrupted, so that didn’t help.”
A rocky first inning by Trevor Bauer landed Cleveland in an early hole. The inning included 38 pitches, 10 batters, four hits, three walks and a bases-loaded wild pitch.
The Indians chipped away against Scherzer. Michael Brantley had a sacrifice fly in the fourth. The Indians scored twice in the sixth on Yan Gomes’ groundout and Lonnie Chisenhall’s double.
Scherzer staggered through six innings, allowing three runs and throwing 124 pitches before being pulled.
Michael Bourn’s one-out single off Al Alburquerque started the tying rally. Blaine Hardy relieved with two outs, but Brantley doubled to left-center on the first pitch and Bourn raced home.
Teams pouncing on Bauer in the first is nothing new for the young right-hander — he has a 6.55 ERA in the inning this season, giving up 20 runs (16 earned) on 26 hits. Bauer allowed four runs in 5 2-3 innings.
Utilityman Mike Aviles is sidelined because of a concussion that occurred Monday when he attempted to make a diving catch of a fly ball in right field. Aviles likely won’t go on the seven-day disabled list because the rosters are expanded, but he’ll have to pass the concussion protocol tests before playing again.
OF David Murphy (strained right oblique) homered for Triple-A Columbus on a rehab assignment Wednesday. Murphy, who hasn’t played since Aug. 9, will be checked by team doctors Friday.
Cleveland continues its 11-game homestand against the White Sox on Friday. LHP T.J. House (2-3) goes against LHP Chris Sale (11-3), who leads the AL with a 2.11 ERA.