DETROIT -- Ubaldo Jimenez had walked more hitters than anybody in baseball this year, and it's fair to say he'd been a bit of a bust since coming over to Cleveland in a big trade last season.
"He's better than that," manager Manny Acta said Tuesday night. "Today was a step in the right direction."
Jimenez (6-4) allowed a run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out four. The right-hander entered the game with 42 walks in 56 innings this year, but he didn't issue a base on balls until his final hitter in the seventh.
"That's a surprise," he said. "With an outing like this, I just want to keep it going."
Three relievers finished for Cleveland. Chris Perez allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Smyly (2-2) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Jimenez threw only 55 strikes in 102 pitches, but Detroit didn't make him pay when he did miss the mark.
"I thought Jimenez was effectively wild," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We had some really golden counts for hitters. Just didn't do much with them."
The Indians made two sparkling defensive plays with Detroit trying to rally in the ninth. After a leadoff single by Delmon Young, Cabrera, the shortstop, barehanded Gerald Laird's chopper and threw to second for a forceout.
The Indians won for only the fourth time in their last 27 games at Comerica Park.
Jimenez allowed seven runs in four innings May 27 against the White Sox in Chicago. Jimenez was bothered by cramping in his left side, so the Indians gave him a bit more rest and didn't start him again until Tuesday.
"I just think that it gave him time to rest his left side," Acta said. "You don't want to push him and make it worse."
Cleveland's Carlos Santana returned to the lineup after being on the 7-day disabled list because of a concussion. He went 0 for 4 as the designated hitter.
The Indians had lost seven of nine since sweeping three straight from the Tigers in Cleveland last month.
Jimenez hit the first batter he faced and allowed an RBI double to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning.
Detroit did little offensively after that. Matt Young, a 29-year-old outfielder just up from the minors, struck out four times. The home crowd gave him a sarcastic cheer when he fouled off a two-strike pitch in the eighth, but he struck out swinging at the next one.
Smyly struck out the first four hitters he faced, but Cabrera's triple in the third tied the game and Marson's triple in the fifth gave the Indians the lead. Choo drove Marson home with a single to make it 3-1.
Brantley extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his triple in the sixth, which eluded a diving Boesch in right and brought home another run.
The Indians improved to 5-12 when facing a left-handed starter.
Cleveland became the first team with at least three triples and no other extra-base hits since Kansas City on Sept. 21, 1998, against Detroit. ... Detroit C Alex Avila left the game when his troublesome right hamstring tightened. He was expecting to have an MRI. ... Tigers DH Victor Martinez was at the ballpark. He's been recovering from a severe knee injury from the offseason and said he's supposed to have an MRI around the end of this month. ... Detroit's Prince Fielder extended his hitting streak to 12 with a sixth-inning single. ... Detroit RHP Max Scherzer (5-3) faces Cleveland RHP Jeanmar Gomez (3-4) on Wednesday night.