Tigers stung by Tribe comeback
Hernandez's three home runs power Cleveland offense
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The Indians didn't let a 5-0 deficit deter them, and rallied to defeat the Tigers, 7-6, in front of 4,934 fans at Chain of Lakes Park on Thursday afternoon.
The Tribe won the game in the bottom on the ninth on Brandon Pinckney's leadoff single, a wild pitch, an intentional walk and a hit batter to load the bases. Jeff Liefer's sacrifice fly knocked in the go-ahead run.
What helped the Tribe most in the comeback was the work of its relief pitchers. They teamed with starter Steve Watkins to hold the Tigers hitless from the second inning until two outs in the top of the ninth.
The hit, though, was a big one: Bobby Higginson launched a home run off reliever David Riske that tied the game at 6.
It was the first offense the Tigers had produced since collecting four hits off Watkins in the first. The Tigers used those four hits to score five times -- highlighted by Marcus Thames' grand slam -- but they could do little else from there until getting to Riske.
But the game would not have been winnable for the Tribe if not for Jose Hernandez, who did much of the heavy lifting in the team's comeback. Hernandez hammered three home runs over the left-field wall, including the tying home run off left-hander Doug Creek in the sixth.
Ben Broussard then followed with a solo shot to right-center, which gave the Indians their first lead over the Tigers in the home-and-home series the two American League rivals have played the past couple of days.
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.