By STEVE HERRICK
CLEVELAND — Oscar Mercado hit his second home run of the game — a leadoff blast in the seventh inning — and the Cleveland Indians continued to dominate Detroit with an 8-6 win over the Tigers on Monday night.
Mercado, who came into the game in a 1-for-25 skid, homered into the bleachers in left field off Victor Alcantara (3-2) to break a 5-all tie. Mercado also hit a solo home run off Detroit starter Daniel Norris in the fifth.
The Indians have won nine of 10 against the Tigers this season, including eight in a row.
Cleveland dropped two of three to AL Central-leading Minnesota coming out of the All-Star break. The Indians lost the first two games of the weekend series before salvaging Sunday’s finale and are six games behind the Twins.
The game was delayed for 54 minutes in the top of the seventh by heavy rain and strong winds. The grounds crew needed nearly a half-hour to clear the outfield warning track of standing water from the downpour.
Nick Wittgren (4-0) retired Jeimer Candelario with two on to end the inning before the Indians scored three times. Jose Ramirez had a two-run double following Mercado’s homer.
Jordy Mercer homered twice for Detroit, including a leadoff shot in the ninth off Brad Hand. Victor Reyes singled, but Hand retired the next three hitters, including Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos on strikeouts, for his 25th save in 26 chances.
Candelario and Christin Stewart homered off Cleveland starter Adam Plutko.
Mike Freeman’s two-run homer in the second off Norris gave Cleveland the lead. Detroit scored in the third and took a 3-2 lead on Stewart’s two-run homer in the fourth.
Mercer, hit a leadoff homer in the fifth. Candelario’s solo homer in the sixth finished the night for Plutko.
Norris left in the sixth with a 5-3 lead. Tyler Naquin’s two-run double off Daniel Stumpf tied the game and ended Norris’ bid for his first win since May 12.
Trevor Rosenthal, released by Washington last month, pitched the eighth for Detroit and struck out two. He was pitching at Triple-A Toledo after signing with the Tigers.
Tigers: OF JaCoby Jones (lower back strain) has reported for a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Toledo.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said a decision will be made in the next couple of days when RHP Corey Kluber will begin throwing off a mound. The two-time AL Cy Young winner broke his right arm when he was hit by a line drive May 1 in Miami. Tests have shown Kluber’s arm is healing properly and he’s been playing catch from 150 feet.
Tigers: LHP Ryan Carpenter is expected to be recalled from Toledo to start today. He’s 1-5 with an 8.36 ERA in eight starts for Detroit. Indians: RHP Zach Plesac (3-3, 4.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start Tuesday.