By LARRY LAGE/AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) – Drew Smyly allowed four hits in seven innings and Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer, helping the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.
Smyly (6-8) did not give up a hit until Yan Gomes’ two-out double in the fifth. The left-hander allowed one run on Gomes’ seventh-inning homer – and two walks with six strikeouts. Joba Chamberlain walked to in the eighth, and Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.
Josh Tomlin (5-7) allowed four runs, six hits and a walk over 4 1-3 innings.
The AL Central-leading Tigers (54-41) stopped a four-game losing streak and increased their lead over Cleveland to 5 1-2 games.
Cleveland (50-48) had reached a season-high three games over .500 by winning four in a row.
Detroit gave Smyly some support offensively, scoring two runs in the first and two more on Hunter’s drive deep into the left-field seats. Austin Jackson led off the first with a double and scored on Ian Kinsler’s single, and Kinsler came home on Victor Martinez’s sacrifice fly.
After Hunter’s two-run homer in the fourth inning, the Tigers failed to take advantage of creating a bigger cushion the next two innings.
Indians relievers C.C. Lee and Kyle Crockett stranded a total of five runners by combining to strike out the last two batters in the fifth and the sixth.
Nick Castellanos hit an RBI double for a four-run lead in the eighth inning, taking some pressure off Nathan, who was greeted by the fans with a mix of cheers and boos after giving up a game-losing hit in Saturday night’s loss.
NOTES: Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (8-8, 4.88) is to face Arizona LHP Vidal Nuno (0-1, 3.00) when Detroit begins a seven-game trip that continues against the Los Angeles Angels. … Martinez played first base, giving Cabrera a day of relative rest as a designated hitter, and may play there while Cabrera moves to third for a game or two against the Diamondbacks. … The Indians will stay on the road, expecting to put called-up LHP T.J. House (1-2, 4.40) on the mound against LHP Kris Johnson (0-1, 5.40) Monday night and called-up RHP Danny Salazar on Tuesday night at Minnesota. … Detroit and Cleveland optioned the 26th players they had for Saturday’s doubleheader, sending RHP Drew VerHagen to Triple-A Toledo and RHP Zach McAllister to Triple-A Columbus.
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