Baseball / Sports

Brantley's homer in 10th inning lifts Indians past Tigers

CLEVELAND -- Smelly and sleep-deprived, the Detroit Tigers staggered into Progressive Field some two hours and 40 minutes before Monday night's first pitch with groggy players either still dressed in their pajamas or an embarrassing example of some cruel fashion disaster.

After sweeping the Boston Red Sox late Sunday night to record their sixth consecutive win, the Tigers had all kinds of plane and hotel issues that resulted in no luggage and a long travel day, and may have left the best team in the major leagues a tad bit vulnerable.

The Indians managed to parlay the advantage into an extra-inning walkoff victory, using Michael Brantley's two-out, full-count home run in the bottom of the 10th inning against Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque to claim a 5-4 win.

The Indians were in position to clinch the win an inning earlier, but Tigers pinch hitter J.D. Martinez picked an opportune time to hit his first home run of the season -- a solo shot to center field that knotted the game 4-4.

But the Indians (20-25) had one more rally in them, halting their four-game losing streak while snapping the Tigers (27-13) six-game winning streak and shrinking Detroit's lead in the Central Division to under double digits at 91/2 games.

The Indians scored first and rebounded twice in the second and seventh innings when the Tigers pulled even, getting early help from two struggling hitters in Nick Swisher and Ryan Raburn with a hand from rookie Jesus Aguilar.

The Indians took advantage of Detroit starter Drew Smyly's command issues from the start, loading the bases in the first and fourth innings. But they came away with only one run -- Asdrubal Cabrera scoring on a wild pitch in the first.

But slugger Victor Martinez pulled the Tigers even with one swing, leading of the second inning with a home run -- his 11th of the season, two more than his strikeout total of nine. The Indians retook the lead against Smyly with a two runs in the fifth inning.

The scuffling Swisher came up with a two-out, run-scoring single that marked the Indians' first RBI hit with runners in scoring position since the eighth inning Thursday in Toronto. Aguilar followed suit with his first RBI and base hit in the majors via an infield hit to short that handed the Indians a 3-1 advantage.

But two innings later the Tigers rallied to tie the game on Rajai Davis' one-out, two-run double against Indians starter Corey Kluber.

The right-hander limited the explosive Tigers lineup to three runs while scattering eight hits and striking out eight.

But the Indians recovered and went ahead a second time, when Yan Gomes opened the seventh inning with a hit and Swisher followed with his second of the game.

With both running aggressively, Gomes went from first to third, but Swisher was thrown out trying to take second base. But Aguilar came through again, his sacrifice fly to shallow center scoring Gomes and putting the Indians back on top, 4-3.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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