CLEVELAND (AP) — Justin Verlander wasn't about to let a win slip away in the rain.
Verlander returned to the mound after sitting through a 62-minute rain delay to get his fifth win and Miguel Cabrera hit another homer — maybe the luckiest of his career — as the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 11-7 on Wednesday night, sweeping the two-game series between the AL Central's top teams.
Verlander (5-4) was two outs from qualifying for a victory, when the game was stopped with the Tigers leading 9-5 in the fifth. The right-hander came back after the weather break and finished the inning to get the win, ending a run of five straight victories by the Indians over former Cy Young winners.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said his general rule is not let a pitcher return after sitting more than an hour. However, he made an exception because it was so close, and because Verlander is Verlander.
"Since I've been here, he's been our horse," Leyland. "He has earned that right. I thought he deserved it."
After the long delay in the fifth, the game was stopped for another 48 minutes in the eighth.
Victor Martinez hit two sacrifice flies off Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3) as the Tigers, who led 9-2 in the fifth, held on to move within one-half game of the first-place Indians.
After the second rain delay, Cabrera connected for a two-run homer off reliever Rich Hill.
It was the slugger's fifth homer in three games and 13th this season. The shot to right-center was helped over the wall by center fielder Michael Bourn, who ran back to the warning track and was in position to make the catch but had the ball bounce out of his glove and into the stands.
"It was a lucky home run," Cabrera said. "I was surprised. That's never happened to me."
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer and Yan Gomes connected for the Indians, who will open a four-game series in Boston on Thursday — manager Terry Francona's return to Fenway Park for the first time since leaving the Red Sox.
Down 9-2 after three, the Indians fought back within two runs but lost some momentum because of the delays.
"Every time we would get something going, the rain would come and kind of kill things," third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "It is what it is. There's nothing you can do about Mother Nature."
Verlander wasn't sharp for the third straight outing, allowing five runs and 10 hits. He walked one and struck out nine, but the five-time All-Star wasn't about to let a win slip away because of the weather.
While the grounds crew hauled out the tarp to cover the field in the fifth, Verlander stood on the mound and gave an incredulous look to umpire Tim Welke, the crew chief working second base. Verlander was aware a possible victory was being washed away since he would likely not be coming back after the delay.