Inside Pitch: Maroth, Wilson Team Up

Mike Maroth hasn't been a dominant force in years as a Tiger, but he's had a great start, and on Sunday, he was helped out by Vance Wilson, who has been an unsung hero on this club for the past year and a half.

Backup catcher Vance Wilson is giving the Tigers valuable play in relief of Ivan Rodriguez.

Wilson had a double Sunday in a start at Cleveland. He went 1 for 4 to drop his batting average to .310.

The Tigers' pitchers like throwing to him, and he does a good job of calling games.

Wilson's arm isn't up to the standards of Rodriguez, but it is far above average. He showed it off Sunday in ninth on a sacrifice bunt attempt after Fernando Rodney walked the leadoff man. Wilson pounced on the ball but made a one-hop throw to second on the wet grass, a throw that shortstop Carlos Guillen made an excellent pickup of to nip the runner at second.

Detroit was able to get out of the inning without a run scoring and won 3-2.

REPLAY: Mike Maroth worked six strong innings Sunday and Detroit broke through for three seventh-inning runs to take a 3-2 victory from Cleveland and earn the Tigers their first three-game sweep of the Indians at Jacobs Field.

Maroth allowed only an unearned run, leaving after Detroit scored its three runs only because of a rain delay of 59 minutes. He is 5-2 this season but improved to 6-0 over his career in Cleveland.

Jason Grilli worked a scoreless seventh, but neither he nor Jamie Walker could get an out in the eighth, and Joel Zumaya came on with runners on second and third and nobody out in a 3-1 game.

Zumaya struck out Victor Martinez before allowing a sacrifice fly to Ben Broussard. Casey Blake was walked intentionally before Ronnie Belliard lined out to center to end the threat.

Fernando Rodney walked two batters in the ninth, but a bunt that turned into a fielder's choice at second blunted the rally. Travis Hafner flied out to deep center to end the game.

The Indians scored an unearned run in the fifth, but Carlos Guillen hit a single past Belliard to open the seventh. He went to third on Chris Shelton's line single to right, and Craig Monroe followed with an RBI double. Fernando Cabrera got Vance Wilson to squib a grounder that Eduardo Perez muffed for an error, allowing both runners to score.

The losing pitcher was former Tiger Jason Johnson (2-3), who signed with the Indians as a free agent during the winter.

--LHP Mike Maroth wasn't able to survive a 59-minute rain delay Sunday, but he did get through six innings allowing just one unearned run, enough to raise his career record at Jacobs Field to 6-0.

Maroth allowed seven hits but had good control and was able to spot his pitches as he needs to do to be successful. He walked just one in improving to 5-2.

--RHP Joel Zumaya dialed it up when he needed to Sunday in helping preserve a victory for LHP Mike Maroth.

Zumaya entered the game in the eighth inning with Detroit clinging to a 3-1 lead and runners on second and third with nobody out.

He kept the ball in on C Victor Martinez and struck him out, which proved important when pinch hitter Ben Broussard hit a sacrifice fly. Detroit elected to walk hot-hitting RF Casey Blake, and 2B Ronnie Belliard lined out to center to end the inning.

Zumaya was given Saturday off and is being used sparingly by manager Jim Leyland. He's done an excellent job coming into games with runners on base.

--RHP Fernando Rodney got his sixth save Sunday because normal closer RHP Todd Jones was unavailable.

It wasn't easy, though, as Rodney walked two batters to make things tight. Two good defensive plays and a strikeout helped him stay out of trouble.

--RHP Todd Jones was kept out of action Sunday due to a sore right knee.

Jones got saves both Friday and Saturday nights for Detroit in a sweep at Cleveland but said after the second game he felt soreness in his knee making the last few pitches.

Manager Jim Leyland elected to use RHP Fernando Rodney to close Sunday's game, and Jones will have another day of rest Monday because the Tigers are off.

--SS Carlos Guillen had a key hit and made a key defensive play Sunday to help Detroit defeat Cleveland 3-2.

Guillen's single triggered a three-run Detroit rally in the seventh that overcame a 1-0 Cleveland lead.

He made an excellent scoop save of C Vance Wilson's throw in the bottom of the ninth to foil an Indians sacrifice bunt attempt and keep Cleveland off the scoreboard.

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