DETROIT (AP) — Indians starter Triston McKenzie retired the first 23 Detroit batters in order before Harold Castro lined a single to right with two out in the eighth inning and Cleveland beat the Tigers 11-0 Sunday.
The 24-year-old stunned the Comerica Park crowd of 25,684 hoping to see Miguel Cabrera’s 500th homer. Instead, they gave McKenzie a standing ovation after Castro’s hit and another after he finished the inning with his 11th strikeout.
McKenzie (2-5) came within four outs of breaking baseball’s longest no-hit drought. Cleveland hasn’t had one since Len Barker’s perfect game on May 15, 1981, against the Toronto Blue Jays.
McKenzie, who has bounced between the Indians and Triple-A this season, pitched eight innings for the first time in his major league career.
Drew Hutchison (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs while only getting five outs in his first major league game since a five-game stretch in the Texas Rangers rotation in Aug. 2018. Hutchison went 1-1 with an 8.86 ERA, and had pitched for four Triple-A teams and another in the American Association before getting the call from Detroit.
Cleveland took control of the game with a six-run second inning.
With runners on first and third and no outs, Owen Miller hit a grounder to second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Instead of going for a double play, Schoop threw home to get Bradley Zimmer, but catcher Grayson Greiner dropped the throw, allowing the run to score.
Andres Gimenez walked to load the bases and Austin Hedges made it 3-0 with a double to right. Hutchison walked Myles Straw to re-load the bases, but Amed Rosario hit into a run-scoring double play. Jose Ramirez homered to right, giving the Indians a 6-0 lead.
A walk to Franmil Reyes ended Hutchison’s return to the majors, and the Indians scored five more in the third, highlighted by Rosario’s bases-loaded triple and an RBI double by Ramirez.
After that, the game belonged to McKenzie, who punched out Cabrera to end the seventh in the slugger’s last at-bat..
NOT THE FIRST TIME
McKenzie’s bid for perfection wasn’t the first involving Detroit and Cleveland at Comerica Park. On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga threw the infamous “28-out perfect game” against the Indians when umpire Jim Joyce wrongly called Jason Donald safe at first with two out in the ninth.
Cleveland: The Indians open a three-game series in Minnesota on Monday. Griffin Jax (3-1, 5.45) is scheduled to start for the Twins against Cal Quantrill (3-2, 3.13).
Detroit: The Tigers are off on Monday before hosting the Los Angeles Angels for three games starting on Tuesday. Casey Mize (6-6, 3.66) is scheduled to start against an Angels pitcher to be announced later.