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Indians intend to keep dominating Tigers

Wed Jul 17 3:35am ET

The Cleveland Indians have seen their offense kick into gear to help them move a season-best 13 games over .500.

The Indians aim to keep the scoreboard operator busy and continue their mastery of the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday when they play the third contest of a four-game series in Cleveland.

Cleveland has recorded 20 homers and 66 runs during its 9-2 run to move within five games of the first-place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.

Rookie Oscar Mercado has found his groove in the current series, answering a 1-for-25 slump by belting a pair of solo homers in the Indians' 8-6 win in the series opener. The 24-year-old followed that with a two-run homer on Tuesday as Cleveland posted its 10th win in 11 meetings with Detroit, an 8-0 romp.

"Early on, I thought we were a little long with our swings," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Then we started to go the other way and we started to get rewarded for it."

Tyler Naquin launched a solo homer to highlight his fourth straight multi-hit performance. The 28-year-old is batting .448 (13-for-29) with two homers and eight RBIs in his past eight games.

"Staying confident, staying with that approach and paying attention to the game as it unfolds," Nyquin said. "Paying attention to everything around myself and getting little bits and pieces from the guys in the dugout."

Detroit's offense could use a lift as the team sits last in the majors in runs (335) and hits (724).

The Tigers were blanked for the ninth time this season on Tuesday, with four of the shutouts coming at the hands of Cleveland.

"I don't want these guys to start feeling sorry for themselves, like, 'Why is it happening to us all the time?'" Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's part of the game. You've got to grow with it and keep playing."

Nicholas Castellanos' single in the fifth inning was the lone hit for Detroit, which fell for the 10th time in 12 games.

Castellanos is just 2-for-16 with six strikeouts against Wednesday starter Mike Clevinger (2-2, 3.99 ERA), who answered a pair of rough outings with a pair of strong ones.

Clevinger followed up a four-hit, nine-strikeout performance over six scoreless innings at Kansas City by allowing one run on four hits in five innings of a no-decision against Minnesota on Friday.

Jeimer Candelario (1-for-11, six strikeouts) and Miguel Cabrera (2-for-15) have struggled against the 28-year-old right-hander, who sports a 5-2 mark with a 2.18 ERA in nine career appearances (eight starts) versus the Tigers.

Detroit rookie right-hander Spencer Turnbull (3-8, 3.59 ERA) carries an 0-3 mark with a 7.07 ERA in three starts against the Indians into Wednesday's game.

Mercado (4-for-5, four RBIs), Jason Kipnis (3-for-6, homer, three RBIs) and Carlos Santana (3-for-7) have feasted on Turnbull, who failed to work past five innings in each of the outings vs. Cleveland.

Turnbull returned from the injured list on Friday and allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits in three innings of a no-decision at Kansas City.

--Field Level Media

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