DETROIT (AP) -Will Rhymes gave yet another reason why the Detroit Tigers should be happy about their prospects for the future.
One day after Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch became the first pair of Detroit rookies to reach 100 hits in a season since Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, it was Rhymes' turn to take the stage.
Rhymes, in the lineup while Carlos Guillen recovers from a knee injury, had a hit and scored a run in each of the first three innings. He finished with a career-best four hits as the Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with an 8-1 victory Sunday.
``I got lucky in my first at-bat, and after that, I was feeling comfortable,' Rhymes said. ``My job is to go out there, play hard, run hard and get on base for the guys who get paid to drive us in. That's all I'm doing.'
Detroit outscored the Indians 19-3 in the lopsided weekend series, gaining a measure of revenge for a four-game sweep in Cleveland last month.
``I think this was a bit of payback - we got them at our place and now they swept us here,' said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. ``We were just overwhelmed by their pitching here. We couldn't do anything in any of the games.'
After strong performances by Armando Galarraga and Max Scherzer in the first two games, Justin Verlander (14-8) finished the weekend by allowing one run in eight innings.
``We're all competitive guys - we wouldn't be at this level if we weren't - so you want to go out there and one-up the last guy,' Verlander said. ``Everyone's pitching well, so you don't want to be the one that goes out there and ends the streak.'
The Tigers have had two three-game winning streaks and a three-game losing streak in their last nine games.
``It seems like we were clicking on all cylinders this weekend,' Verlander said. ``If we can keep this up for the rest of the season ... well, never say never. It's a funny game.'
The Indians finished a six-game road trip to Kansas City and Detroit with just one win and are a season-worst 24 games under .500 (50-74).
Verlander (14-8), who has struggled with high pitch counts early in games this season, didn't throw his 100th pitch Sunday until the eighth inning.
``He's one of the best young pitchers out there, and today he showed why,' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``He used all of his pitches, got ahead of the hitters and pretty dominated the game.'
Cleveland led 1-0 after Shin-Soo Choo's homer in the first, but Detroit chased rookie Jeanmar Gomez with eight runs in the first three innings.
Detroit's quick start was aided by a pair of failed intentional walks in the first two innings. In the first, after Miguel Cabrera's RBI single, Acta walked Brennan Boesch to load the bases for former Indian Jhonny Peralta, who answered with a two-run single.
``I wouldn't have walked him with two out, but with one out, I was just trying to get the kid out of the inning with a double play,' Acta said. ``He just couldn't make the pitch.'
In the next inning, Acta walked Cabrera to pitch to Boesch, again with the bases loaded. This time, Boesch hit a two-run double, followed by Peralta's sacrifice fly, but Acta didn't doubt his strategy.
``When it is Cabrera, I'll walk him any time - I don't care what inning it is,' he said. ``That's the best hitter in the American League, and I didn't want to see what kind of damage he was going to do to us.'
Rhymes and Johnny Damon added RBI singles in the third to make it 8-1. Neither team scored in the final six innings.
Gomez (3-2) left after the third, having allowed as many runs as he had in his first five starts combined. Seven of the eight runs were earned, to go along with 11 hits and three walks.
``You can't expect a kid to have his best stuff every time, and today, Gomez's slider was flat,' Acta said. ``That's going to happen.'
NOTES: The crowd of 35,104 moved the Tigers' season attendance to 2,004,237 - the sixth straight year that they have surpassed 2 million fans and the 13th time in franchise history. ... Jayson Nix made the defensive play of the game, catching Don Kelly's foul pop before flipping over a railing and landing on his head in a camera area at the end of the Tigers dugout. Nix hung on despite the rough landing and was uninjured. Nix had reached deep into the same part of the dugout to catch another Kelly popup earlier in the game. ... Indians OF Michael Brantley missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle and remains day to day.
The Associated Press News Service
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