Series: Game 1 of 4

Cleveland leads 1-0 (as of 5/31)

Game 1: Thursday, May 31
Game 2: Friday, June 1
Game 3: Saturday, June 2
Game 4: Sunday, June 3

Tigers 5

(30-23, 15-12 away)

Indians 11

(33-19, 18-4 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 31, 2007

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 013000010 5 10 1
    CLE 20004104 - 11 13 0

    W: C. Sabathia (8-1)

    L: J. Verlander (5-2)

    Hafner, Martinez help Tribe rough up Verlander, Tigers

    • Summary: Travis Hafner homered and drove in four runs and Victor Martinez had three RBIs in the Indians' 11-5 victory over the Tigers.

    • Goat: Detroit starter Justin Verlander gave up seven runs and eight hits, walked three, threw two wild pitches, struck out six and hit three batters in five-plus innings.

    • Figure this: Cleveland improved baseball's best home mark to 18-4 and improved to 4-0 against the defending AL champion Tigers.

    • Quotable: "We're not playing very good. We're in a real bad flow right now." -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland

    -- news services

    Indians 11, Tigers 5

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Travis Hafner is starting to hit again, and that makes the Cleveland Indians' offense even more dangerous.

    Hafner homered and drove in four runs, Victor Martinez finished with three RBIs and the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 11-5 on Thursday night to improve baseball's best home record to 18-4.

    "When Haf gets locked in, it's like I say -- you play with fire, you're going to get burned," Martinez said. "It's a big difference when he's hot."

    Cleveland also improved to 14-4 in the AL Central, including 4-0 against Detroit, despite a rough outing by C.C. Sabathia (8-1). The ace left-hander, 5-0 at Jacobs Field, allowed five runs and 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings and moved into a tie for the major-league lead in wins.

    "Our offense definitely helps a pitcher," Sabathia said. "You feel that if you keep it close, they'll do what they did tonight."

    Hafner, hitting only .230 over his previous 21 games, put Cleveland ahead with a two-run drive in the first inning and Martinez's two-run homer capped a four-run fifth off Justin Verlander (5-2).

    "I hit that one pretty good," said Hafner, who is 5-for-8 with six RBIs in his last two games. "My swing has been coming around. It's nice to see some results.

    "The big thing for us is playing this well inside the division. That's very encouraging," he said.

    Verlander gave up seven runs and eight hits over five-plus innings for Detroit, which lost for the sixth time in seven games and dropped 3½ games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. The right-hander hit three batters with pitches, walked three, uncorked two wild pitches and struck out six.

    "I'm supposed to give us a chance to win, but I didn't do that," Verlander said. "It was not a very good night."

    Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield was ejected in the top of the fifth by plate umpire Greg Gibson after arguing a called strike and then breaking his bat on a groundout and angrily throwing the piece of wood still in his hands.

    After running halfway to first, Sheffield whirled and came back at Gibson. Tigers manager Jim Leyland and catcher Ivan Rodriguez ran out of the dugout to restrain Sheffield, who repeatedly poked his finger toward Gibson's face.

    Sheffield, through a team spokesman, refused comment.

    "I don't talk about that stuff," Leyland said. "That's a dead end. Obviously, he and the umpire had a disagreement.

    "We're not playing very good. We're in a real bad flow right now," he said.

    Casey Blake singled with one out in the first inning and Hafner followed with a 430-foot drive into the trees beyond the center-field wall for his 10th homer and 2-0 lead.

    "Haf really got us going," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's a good sign to see him driving in runs. He's really the guy we work [the offense] around."

    Craig Monroe's 100th career homer and eighth of the season got Detroit within 2-1 in the second.

    The Tigers went ahead with a three-run third. Sheffield had an RBI double, Magglio Ordonez a run-scoring groundout and Marcus Thames an RBI single.

    Grady Sizemore and Blake singled to start the Indians' fifth. Hafner tied it with a two-run single to center and Martinez hit a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for his ninth homer to make it 6-4.

    Martinez added a sacrifice fly in the sixth, giving him 10 RBIs in his last seven games, and Sizemore's two-run triple capped Cleveland's four-run eighth off Jose Mesa.

    Game notes

    The Tigers, with seven players on the disabled list, were also without starting infielders Brandon Inge (chip fracture in toe) and Carlos Guillen (strained left groin). ... Sabathia went 5-1 in May for the second straight year. ... Ordonez has 43 RBIs in his last 39 games and an AL-leading 49 overall. ... Hafner walked twice and leads the AL with 47. ... Sizemore got a standing ovation after making a leaping catch near the warning track of a drive hit by Neifi Perez in the second.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press