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Greene drives in 3 runs, Flaherty adds to trade value and Tigers beat Guardians 10-1 and win series

DETROIT (AP) — Riley Greene drove in three runs on three hits and Jack Flaherty pitched six strong innings, helping the Detroit Tigers beat the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians 10-1 on Thursday to win their four-game series.

Cleveland's Bo Naylor homered in the third and Carson Kelly countered with his seventh of the season in the bottom of the inning, restoring Detroit's three-run lead before the game turned into a rout.

Greene's two-run double in the fourth put the Tigers ahead 6-1, and Gio Urshela's three-run double gave them a 10-1 lead in the sixth inning.

Detroit is 6-1 in its last seven for its best stretch since winning six of its first seven games this season. But it is still four games below .500 and trails the Guardians by 13 games in the division.

“The production has picked up and the pitching has stabilized,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Our guys like winning, and winning series, and we hadn't done that in a while.”

The fourth-place Tigers will face Cleveland six more times this month, giving them an opportunity to make up some ground in the standings.

“At this point in the season, teams are hungry to beat us,” said Guardians catcher Austin Hedges, who pitched two scoreless innings in his season debut on the mound and fifth career game as a pitcher. “Teams show up with their A game with an A energy and I think they prepare for us more now.

"You have to do some serious game-planning to beat us and it’s up to us to respond to that.”

Flaherty (6-5) allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two in his return from a back injury. Facing a team with an AL-high five All-Stars, including four in the lineup, the 28-year-old right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.13.

Flaherty could be an attractive option should Detroit decide to sell ahead of this month's trade deadline. He signed a $14 million, one-year deal with the Tigers in December.

Cleveland just made a recent move to bolster its banged-up rotation, and the early return wasn't favorable.

Spencer Howard (1-2) gave up four runs and seven hits over three innings. The 27-year-old right-hander, who was acquired from San Francisco last week, had a 5.63 ERA in two starts and five relief appearances this season with the Giants.

“A lot of work to do,” he said.

Guardians right-hander Pedro Avila also was roughed up, allowing five runs, four earned, and three hits in 2 1/3 innings.

The Tigers scored in each of the first four innings and then added four more in the sixth.

Cleveland outfielder Will Brennan went 0 for 3 with a strikeout in his first game since returning from a rib injury. Infielder Gabriel Arias was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to clear a roster spot for Brennan before the series finale in Detroit.

UP NEXT

Guardians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-6, 5.22 ERA) is scheduled to start a series opener Friday night at Tampa Bay.

Tigers: All-Star LHP Tarik Skubal (10-3, 2.37 ERA) will open a series against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night at Comerica Park.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb