DETROIT (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are playing so well, they’re piling up wins two at a time.
The AL Central leaders completed their second doubleheader sweep in three days, routing Detroit 10-0 Friday night for their ninth straight victory.
Mike Clevinger pitched six sharp innings to finish off the day-night twinbill against the Tigers. Cleveland won the opener 3-2 on Francisco Lindor’s tiebreaking single in the ninth.
On Wednesday, the Indians beat the New York Yankees 2-1 and 9-4. Cleveland was off Thursday.
“I told these guys that we were going to have to play a lot of baseball in three days whether we liked it or not, so we might as well play well,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Roberto Perez homered and drove in three runs to back Clevinger (8-5). Perez is hitting .435 (10 for 23) in a seven-game hitting streak.
Clevinger allowed three hits, struck out six and walked one. In three starts against the Tigers this year — all wins — he has given up one run in 18 innings.
“He was great at hitting the corners, but it was Roberto who was keeping him there,” Francona said.
Buck Farmer (3-2) allowed five runs on three hits and three walks in three-plus innings.
“I wasn’t putting away hitters,” he said. “The game started speeding up, and I didn’t control it.”
Giovanny Urshela hit a two-run double in the second. The Indians scored three more in the fourth, two on a single by Perez.
Perez homered to start a five-run sixth.
The opener was tied at 2 in the ninth when pinch-hitter Jay Bruce tripled with one out off Shane Greene (3-3). Lindor singled through the drawn-in infield.
The Tigers loaded the bases with two out in the ninth inning against closer Cody Allen (2-6), who had allowed the tying run in the eighth.
Francona brought in Joe Smith, and he retired Miguel Cabrera on a line drive to Lindor at shortstop for his first save.
Detroit was playing for the first time since trading Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros and Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels a day earlier.
“We have to get used to having a lot of young players out there for the next month,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Experience is a huge asset at the major league level, so there are going to be some bumps.”
Indians: Cleveland activated four players as part of their Sept. 1 roster moves: RHP Josh Tomlin (hamstring), OF Lonnie Chisenhall (calf) and OF Abraham Almonte (hamstring) came off the 10-day disabled list, while RHP Dan Otero was taken off the paternity list.
Tigers: Detroit activated LHP Daniel Norris (groin) and RHP Anibal Sanchez (hamstring) from the disabled list before the game. Both struggled in rehab starts on Thursday, and Ausmus doesn’t know when they will return to Detroit’s rotation. … RHP Michael Fulmer will miss at least two starts due to recurring numbness in his pitching hand. He won’t start again until after a visit with Dr. James Andrews.
“The ultrasound today showed that my ulnar nerve is slipping out of its groove, but there’s no structural damage,” Fulmer said. “My biggest priority right now is being ready for spring training.”
WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES
Tigers reliever Jairo Labourt made his major league debut in the eighth inning of the nightcap. Two of the three batters he retired — Greg Allen and Francisco Mejia — were both batting for the first time in their own big league debuts.
The Tigers used 26 players in the doubleheader, while Cleveland used 25 players, including 17 hitters. Carlos Santana was the only Indian to play 18 innings in the field, splitting time between first base and right field.
“It was nice to be able to give almost everyone part of the day off,” Francona said. “I’m also glad we could get those kids their first games without making them wait.”
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Verlander’s major league debut came in a Tigers-Indians doubleheader on July 4, 2005. Twelve years later, Detroit started the post-Verlander era with another doubleheader against Cleveland.
The longtime Tigers ace wasn’t quite ready to end his days in Detroit, though. Ausmus said Verlander visited the clubhouse on Friday, cleaning out his locker during the first game.
The Tigers and Indians play the third game of the four-game series on Saturday evening. Jordan Zimmermann (6-11, 6.08) will face Cleveland ace Corey Kluber (13-4, 2.63). Zimmermann is 0-3 with an 11.42 ERA in four career starts against the Indians, while Kluber is 6-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 20 starts against Detroit.