DETROIT -- A smile isn't something seen in the Tigers' clubhouse too often as of late. But after picking up his first career victory Thursday afternoon, rookie Casey Crosby wore one from ear to ear.
"It's the best feeling in the world," said Crosby, who was drenched from head to toe after receiving a beer shower from the veterans -- a tradition when a rookie earns his first win -- following the Tigers' 7-5 win over the Indians in the series finale.
The 23-year-old Crosby fired 5 1/3 innings, yielding three runs on five hits and three walks versus Cleveland in his second big league start. Although it wasn't his best outing, it was enough to put the Tigers in position to win, which they did, in front of a sellout crowd of 40,851 at Comerica Park.
After allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings in his debut against the Yankees, Crosby credited Thursday's success to having experienced a few extra days in the Majors.
"I knew what to expect," Crosby said. "When I got up last time I got in and didn't even get to go to the clubhouse at all or the dugout or anything. This time I was a little more familiar with the big leagues."
For the Tigers, the win carried a little bit extra. Entering Thursday's game, Detroit was riding a three-game losing streak and had lost seven of the previous nine contests. In addition, the Tigers were six games under .500 and hadn't been able to defeat the Indians in five previous tries.
Crosby's victory over Cleveland was something Rick Porcello, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly and even Justin Verlander had been unable to do this season -- although Crosby got seven runs of support from his offense.
"Even though I got the win, you're not going to expect to get seven runs every outing from the team," Crosby said. "It's great when it does, this team's capable of doing it every night, but you want to help them out as much as you can."
The 6-foot-5 left-hander said he had much better control of his breaking ball, which took him through five innings having allowed one run on an RBI double from Indians third baseman Jose Lopez. However, by that point, Crosby had a six-run lead to work with.
Four of those runs came in the first inning. Prince Fielder, Delmon Young and Don Kelly all had RBI singles and Fielder scored from third base on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Brennan Boesch, who manager Jim Leyland moved up to the two-hole in an attempt to wake up his bat, got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and laced an RBI ground-rule double over the center fielder's head.
"If it hadn't worked you'd have been a fool because we got [Miguel] Cabrera on deck," Leyland said of letting Boesch swing away on a 3-0 count. "But we just felt like we got to try to get [Boesch] going, get him a little confidence. And he took a real good hack."
Cabrera stepped up next and lofted a two-run home run into the right-field gate, his 13th of the season, to increase the lead to six.
After Cabrera's homer, the Tigers went hitless in their next 11 at-bats and allowed the Indians to creep back into the game. Cleveland cut the lead to two off relievers Brayan Villarreal and Phil Coke and had the tying runs in scoring position against Joaqiun Benoit in the eighth.
With two outs, Lopez drove a 2-2 fastball to deep center that forced Berry to do a 360 before tracking it down.
"It wasn't that high, so I thought it had a chance to go over his head," manager Manny Acta said. "But, Berry, he's very athletic and fast back there. He can make up ground pretty quick. He recovered pretty good and made the catch. This is a very spacious center field."
It was the last opportunity the Tribe had to tack on runs as Jose Valverde shut the door with a hitless ninth inning to record his 10th save.
"It's all must-win time," Berry said. "It's time to get things rolling. The way we came out today was a good sign for this road trip. We came out swinging and Crosby threw a heck of a game."
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.