By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers have figured out how to beat the Cleveland Indians after failing miserably against them last year.
Tyler Collins hit a three-run homer and Daniel Norris gave up only one run, helping Detroit beat Cleveland 7-1 on Monday night.
The Tigers took two of three in Cleveland last month and if they win Tuesday, they’ll match the number of wins they had against the AL Central champions in 2016.
Cleveland was 23 games above .500 within the division in part because they beat the Tigers 14 out of 18 times.
“It’s nice that we’ve played so far, but we’ve got a lot of games against them,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.
Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez hit RBI doubles on consecutive pitches in the first inning. Collins sent a full-count pitch in the second over the right-center fence to put the Tigers up 5-0. Alex Avila’s two-run single in the fifth inning gave them a six-run cushion.
That was plenty of run support for Detroit starter Daniel Norris.
“That was huge,” Norris said. “This is a big series.”
Norris (2-2) allowed five hits — including Edwin Encarnacion’s RBI single in the third inning — four walks and struck out a season-high eight over six innings. Alex Wilson and Anibal Sanchez combined for three innings of scoreless relief as the Tigers won their second straight game.
Trevor Bauer (2-3) gave up seven runs on seven hits and five walks in four-plus innings. After Bauer gave up a single and a double to start the fifth, Zach McAllister replaced him and Avila drove in two runs off his first pitch.
“It was bad,” Bauer said. “I just didn’t put the ball where I needed it. There are days that you can survive that because you get some calls and they hit balls right at someone, but that wasn’t happening.”
Martinez took advantage of Cleveland’s shifted infield, bunting down the third-base line to reach easily as he led off the fifth. Ausmus expects Cleveland to play Martinez the same way.
“You’re not that worried about Victor, generally speaking, on first base because he’s not a steal threat,” Ausmus said.
Martinez also hit an opposite-field single where a third baseman would normally be standing and into left field.
“He’s hitting the ball all over the field,” Ausmus said.
Miguel Cabrera is expected to play Tuesday, coming off the 10-day DL with a groin injury. During early batting practice Monday, he sent a pitch deep to center field and cleared the wall with a shot that landed on a metal awning that covers TV cameras.
“I feel good,” Cabrera said.
PUT ME IN, COACH
Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez have both played in all 25 games this season in part because they haven’t asked for a day off.
“Neither one is feeling like they need one,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Indians: Austin Jackson left the game after reaching on an infield single in the ninth.
“He jammed his toe into the bag,” Francona said.
Jason Kipnis, who missed the first three weeks with a shoulder injury, was given the day off.
Tigers: JaCoby Jones, who went on the DL on April 23 after being hit in the mouth by a pitch, is expected to make a couple more rehab starts before returning.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (3-1, 4.19) will be on the mound for the second game of a four-game series at Comerica Park.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (1-2, 4.60) will aim to give Detroit at least a split in the series.
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