CLEVELAND — José Ramírez hit a three-run homer and tripled a day after avoiding a serious injury when he fouled a ball off his leg, and the Cleveland Guardians defeated the Detroit Tigers 6-1 on Friday night.
Both teams were without their managers for the series opener. Detroit’s A.J. Hinch missed the game because he wasn't feeling well, though he tested negative for COVID-19. Bench coach George Lombard managed the team. Cleveland’s Terry Francona missed the game to have a minor surgical procedure and is expected back Saturday. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale filled in.
Ramírez, the Guardians’ star third baseman, collapsed to the ground in pain after fouling a ball off his right shin in the eighth inning Thursday against Cincinnati. He remained in the game and had an RBI single but was removed for a pinch-runner.
Ramírez had X-rays and other imaging tests on his shin but was in his customary third spot in the lineup Friday. He showed no effects of the injury when his first-inning line drive sailed over the head of center fielder Derek Hill for a triple. Ramírez didn’t hesitate as he rounded second base and slid headfirst into third.
The three-time All-Star’s three-run homer off reliever Jacob Barnes (3-1) in the sixth gave Cleveland a 4-0 lead. Barnes was in the game because of yet another injury to a Detroit starting pitcher.
Tarik Skubal extended his scoreless innings streak to 19, but left the game after being struck on the leg by a line drive after pitching five scoreless innings.
Skubal was hit on the lower left leg by Ernie Clement’s liner. The ball caromed to third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who threw to second for the inning-ending force play. The impact knocked Skubal down. He quickly got up, limped to the dugout and went to the clubhouse with a trainer.
Skubal’s injury is the latest to hit Detroit’s rotation that began the season. Tyler Alexander (left elbow), Matt Manning (right shoulder) and Casey Mize (right elbow) are on the injured list, and Eduardo Rodriguez (left side) is expected to join them this weekend. Michael Pineda is also on the IL with a broken right finger.
Cleveland starter Aaron Civale (2-3) moved to 7-0 in eight career starts against Detroit, but he was removed in the seventh with an apparent injury. The right-hander tripped while running toward first base after fielding a grounder.
Civale was charged with an error on the play and removed. The team announced he had a left glute cramp.
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