Tribe stymied by Tigers in Motown

Tribe stymied by Tigers in Motown

DETROIT -- On another warm day in Detroit, C.C. Sabathia's pitching looked just as hot through the first four innings of an eventual 1-0 hard-luck loss on Sunday.

At the time, Sabathia had struck out five Detroit batters and scattered four hits, putting himself in position for his eighth win in as many career starts at Comerica Park.

However, the fifth inning presented a problem when Sabathia could not barehand Brandon Inge's 2-1 comebacker to the right side of mound.

Cleveland's starter retired the next two batters, allowing Inge to reach third on successive Detroit groundouts and score on Craig Monroe's 1-0 single to left. The hit was a far cry from Monroe's two-run home run that eventually sent Cleveland to a 7-6 loss on Friday.

Afterward, Sabathia felt he could have used better judgment on the comebacker, but in the end it was simply another difficult day.

"I knew I had some time because I got there pretty quick, so I really wasn't rushing that much," Sabathia said. "It was just one of those things that I probably should have used my glove instead of my hand that time."

Unfortunately for the Indians, reliever-turned-starter Wilfredo Ledezma matched the lefty through those frames and four Tigers relievers, including Jamie Walker, secured the shutout.

"Walker really stepped up, and Ledezma, he did a good job against us today," manager Eric Wedge said. "We did not do a particularly good job against him."

In total, the Indians finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and felt the burden increase as the game progressed.

Initially, it looked as if Cleveland might strike first when Kelly Shoppach started the fifth inning with a double and Joe Inglett moved him over to third, but the catcher was left stranded.

The Indians trailed, 1-0, in the sixth, but the situation looked to be improving for the moment.

Ledezma gave way to Jason Grilli following a pair of two-out singles by Jhonny Peralta and Shin-Soo Choo, but Cleveland did not score.

The Indians loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Walker came on to strike out Travis Hafner and retire Victor Martinez on a grounder to end the threat.

Of course Sabathia had no idea that Monroe's base hit would decide the outcome, but said it didn't matter to him whether his team fell by one run or several because the box score read the same -- another setback.

"It's frustrating, but a loss is a loss," Sabathia said. "No matter how you pitch, it's still a loss."

Sabathia has lost four of his last five starts but deserved praise on Sunday, his manager said.

"C.C. threw the ball well, actually outstanding all that way to that final inning," Wedge said. "C.C's pitched two ballgames on this road trip that have been very, very good ballgames."

Monday is a welcome off-day for a team that finished its road trip with a 2-7 record, a mark Wedge said certainly was not an indication of effort.

"We played good baseball this trip," Wedge said. "People might scoff at that because of the record and the way it ended up, but we played real good baseball on this road trip.

"We put ourselves in a position to win six of these games, but obviously, it just didn't work out for us. That doesn't change the way these guys played. Today we played a good game [but] we just weren't able to get anything going offensively."

Sam Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.