DETROIT (AP) - The Cleveland Indians came to Comerica Park with a chance to regain the AL Central lead.
They headed home facing their biggest deficit of the season.
Center fielder Austin Jackson threw out Kosuke Fukudome at the plate to complete a game-ending double play and the Tigers held on to sweep the Indians with a wild 8-7 victory Sunday.
``We worked extremely hard for 10 days to get the lead back to 1 1/2 games,' said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. ``Now we've had a rough series and we have to go to work again.'
The Indians could have taken over first place with a three-game sweep of their own, but left Detroit trailing by 4 1/2 games.
``This isn't what we were looking for when we came here,' Travis Hafner said. ``There's still a lot of baseball to be played, but this was obviously a big game, and we didn't win it.'
Cleveland trailed 7-0 after three innings, but came within inches of forcing extra innings.
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 37th save in as many tries, but it wasn't easy. He walked Fukudome to start the inning and then hit Jason Donald on an 0-2 pitch. Jack Hannahan sacrificed the runners over.
Pinch-hitter Matt LaPorta hit a liner to Jackson, who threw a perfect strike to catcher Alex Avila to get Fukudome by a step.
``No guts, no glory,' Acta said. ``He had to go, but he made a great throw.'
Even Jackson wasn't sure he could throw out the speedy Fukudome.
``It wasn't hit that hard, so I was just trying to get lined up,' Jackson said. ``I knew I had to get it there on the fly, but I didn't know if I even had a chance until I saw Alex put on the tag.'
Acta wasn't bothered by that play, but was upset by an incident earlier in the game. One pitch after Asdrubal Cabrera waited at home plate to see whether hit long fly to right would hook foul - it did - Tigers starter Rick Porcello threw a pitch behind his back.
After a discussion, the umpires warned both benches. Although there were no more incidents, Acta felt Porcello should have been ejected.
``I don't think that was handled very well,' Acta said. ``I think everyone in the stadium knew he threw at him, and if you know he threw at him, you throw him out. Because of the warning, now you can't pitch inside.'
Porcello said it was just another in a series of bad pitches.
``I understand they're upset about that,' he said. ``I don't know what else he wants me to do. I can't take the pitch back. It got away from me. It went behind him. That's all there is to it.'
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1) took the loss, giving up eight runs in 3 1-3 innings, but Porcello couldn't take advantage, allowing five runs in 3 2-3 innings. Phil Coke (2-8), the fifth of seven Tigers pitchers, got the win.
The Tigers appeared to be in complete control after scoring seven runs in the third, but Porcello couldn't get out of the fourth.
Detroit sent 12 batters to the plate against Jimenez in the third. He threw 47 pitches in the inning, but Acta never had anyone warming up in the pen.
``Our bullpen is taxed, and we needed as many innings as we could get out of him,' Acta said. ``We really needed at least five.'
Ramon Santiago and Jackson had RBI singles in the inning before Delmon Young hit a three-run homer and Victor Martinez made it a 7-0 game with a two-run shot.
``I'm very disappointed,' Jimenez said. ``You don't want to fall four games behind that team.'
Carlos Santana started Cleveland's rally with a one-out homer in the fourth and after Porcello retired the next batter, he gave up four straight hits. He was taken out after Michael Brantley's two-run double pulled the Indians within 7-5.
Young's RBI single in the bottom of the inning made it 8-5, but Hannahan drove in a run with a fifth-inning groundout and Hafner's sixth-inning RBI single cut the deficit to one run. Hafner came up lame on the play, though, and was tagged out between first and second.
``In my first at-bat, I had fouled one off my foot, and when I was running to second, it just went out on me,' said Hafner, who missed time with a foot strain earlier in the season. ``It's been sore when I've been running since I came back, but we iced it and it feels better. We'll see tomorrow.'
The Indians put runners on second and third in the eighth, but Joaquin Benoit struck out Santana to end the inning.
NOTES: The crowd of 43,388 put the Tigers over 2 million fans for the seventh straight season. In addition, the three-game series against the Indians drew a total of 132,239 fans for a new Comerica Park record. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing a call at third base. Replays showed that Wilson Betemit beat Hannahan's tag, but Alan Porter ruled him out. ... Lonnie Chisenhall hit for Hafner in the eighth inning and grounded into a forceout.
The Associated Press News Service
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