CLEVELAND — Franmil Reyes homered twice and Zach Plesac pitched seven dominant innings after getting an early lead to give Cleveland a 4-1 win Friday night over the Detroit Tigers, who scratched starter Julio Teheran just before the first pitch.
Reyes hit a two-run homer in the first off emergency starter Derek Holland (0-1) and added a 446-foot solo shot in the sixth to make it 4-0.
For the second straight game, one player carried Cleveland’s offense. Jose Ramirez homered twice on Wednesday in a 4-2 win over Kansas City.
“When those hits start dropping, we’re going to be good,” Reyes said. “Hopefully we get more games like this where we take the lead earlier.”
Plesac (1-1) pitched scoreless ball, allowing just three singles while improving to 3-1 in five career starts against the Tigers. He has surrendered three earned runs in 30 2/3 innings against Detroit.
“He filled up the strike zone the entire night,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “The fastball, I don’t know what it said on the gun, but it had a lot of life to it.”
Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth – breaking 100 mph on most of his 14 pitches – for his first save with Cleveland and the second of his career. He got one with Texas in 2019.
Detroit was forced to make the pregame pitching change after Teheran complained of tightness in his right triceps at the end of his warmup. He beat Cleveland in his debut for the Tigers last week, allowing one run and four hits in five innings.
Teheran told pitching coach Chris Fetter about the discomfort, and Fetter called manager A.J. Hinch just as his relievers were heading to the bullpen in Progressive Field.
“He was willing to pitch,” Hinch said. “But it wasn’t looking good from what Fett told me, and there’s no need to risk further injury, so got Holland up and running.”
Hinch didn’t know if Teheran will miss extended time.
“You pull a pitcher right before the start of the game, it doesn’t feel good,” Hinch said. “It doesn’t look good. I’m not sure whether or not he’s going to be able to avoid any injury-list time or anything like that.”
Hinch used Michael Fulmer for four innings (68 pitches), so he is stretched out in case he has to take Teheran’s rotation spot.
Reyes’ 409-foot liner into the left-field bleachers gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead in the first, which began with the announcement that Teheran wouldn’t be pitching.
In the sixth, Reyes ripped a 2-2 pitch from Fulmer over the wall in center and into some still blooming trees inside Heritage Park.
Amed Rosario made his first start in center field for Cleveland and the converted middle infielder was challenged right away when he had to run down a deep fly by Jeimer Candelario for the game’s first out.
Rosario initially froze before retreating.
“I’m glad I don’t chew anymore because I probably would have swallowed my chew,” Francona joked. “You know what, he doesn’t back down, man. He’s going to be OK. Is it going to be perfect? I don’t know. But he might just be OK.”
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera went 0 for 4.
He entered the series one hit shy of tying Jesse Burkett (2,870) for 46th place in MLB history, and four hits behind Babe Ruth (2,873) for 45th.
Rookie Akil Baddoo didn’t add another chapter to his storybook start, going 0 for 2 with a walk.
Detroit’s 22-year-old rookie homered on the first pitch in his first major league at-bat and connected for a grand slam in his second game. On Thursday, he entered as a pinch runner in the eighth and delivered a game-ending RBI single in the 10th.
Baddoo is the first player since 1900 to begin his career with multiple homers, including a grand slam, in his first three games.
Francona believes there are numerous reasons for pitchers throwing harder than in the past, and one is today’s pitches are recorded when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.
“I don’t want to be the old guy that’s like `They don’t throw like when I (played),”‘ he said. “I’d be willing to go out on a limb and say if Nolan Ryan was pitching today, he would be one of the hardest throwers. He’d take your breath away. Literally.”
Francona faced the Hall of Famer 42 times in his career.
“I don’t think that was in his speech,” Francona joked without mentioning he batted .225 (9 of 40) against Ryan.
Tigers: Fetter rejoined the team after testing positive for COVID-19. Hinch said Fetter took some playful ribbing from players on the trip to Cleveland, but added everyone is happy to have him back.
Cleveland right-hander RHP Aaron Civale (1-0) starts against Tarik Skubal (0-0) for the second time in a week. Civale allowed just two hits in seven innings in beating Detroit on Sunday. Skubal pitched into the sixth, and left with a lead but Cleveland scored seven runs off Tigers relievers.