CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Tigers handed the Cleveland Indians a balk-off victory.
Al Alburquerque gave up a bases-loaded balk in the bottom of the 13th inning and the Tigers lost, 11-10, to the Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field.
"It was a balk," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He just started to move and came back."
Alex Avila, who had homered in the top of the 13th for the Tigers, said there was no controversy over the balk being called.
"The home plate umpire and the second base umpire called it at the same time," he said.
Michael Brantley's single to left off Phil Coke scored Mike Aviles to tie the game in the 13th. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Tigers brought in Alburquerque. After throwing two sliders for balls, Alburquerque intentionally walked Yan Gomes to load the bases.
With ex-Tiger Ryan Raburn at the plate, Alburquerque was called for the balk, bringing Asdrubal Cabrera home for the walk-off win. Raburn raised his hands in the air and the Indians came out to mob Cabrera as he crossed home plate.
After collecting three-game road sweeps in Baltimore and Boston, the Tigers ended a nine-game road trip by getting swept in three games by the Indians.
"It's May; obviously, they've had our number so far," Avila said of the Tribe. "But we'll get them back next time."
The Tigers had leads of 4-0 in the first inning, 9-7 in the eighth and 10-9 in the 13th, but couldn't put away the Indians.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer allowed eight hits and six earned runs over the first two innings, but wound up going seven innings. He allowed 12 hits, two walks and seven earned runs with five strikeouts.
"There was pitches I left up they hit, they also hit some good pitches as well," Scherzer said. "Today's one of these days, you just move on. I can sit here and beat myself up for giving up all those runs in the second inning, but I'm not. I'm going to take a couple positives -- one, I pitched seven innings. That's a huge thing for the bullpen and something when your back is against the wall and still fight through seven, that's a huge accomplishment."
Scherzer said the other positive was that he thought his curveball was very good overall.
Rather than feeling sorry for himself, Scherzer focused on going as many innings as he could after giving up five runs in the second.
"It's a tough loss," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who watched the rest of the game from the visitor's clubhouse after he and Miguel Cabrera were both ejected in the sixth inning with the game tied at 7-7. "We played very well the first six games, came to Cleveland having won six straight on the road and get swept."
Ausmus was initially upset that home plate umpire Tim Timmons did not appeal to first base, ruling instead that Ian Kinsler did not check his swing, resulting in a third strike. Timmons again ruled a strike without appealing to first when Miguel Cabrera tried to check his swing. Words were exchanged and Cabrera was ejected before Ausmus could get to home plate.
"Clearly in my mind, he didn't swing," Ausmus said of Kinsler. "Didn't come close to swinging, that's why the first base umpire is there to help the home plate umpire. It's tough for the home plate umpire to see if there was a full swing or not. First base umpire is there to assist him in making the call. If he had checked with the first base umpire, I think there absolutely would not have been a strike called."
The Tigers went ahead, 9-7, in the eighth inning. Ian Kinsler scored when Victor Martinez reached on a force attempt and Asdrubal Cabrera missed a catch for an error. J.D. Martinez followed with an RBI single.
"We were still have to take the lead a couple times without Miggy," Ausmus said. "He's not always going to be in position to give us a lead or drive in runs and today we were able to get the lead a couple times."
The Indians came back to tie the game and force extra innings when David Murphy hit a two-run home run to right-center off Tigers closer Joe Nathan with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
"Joe's a closer and when you're a closer and you have a bad day, it can cost your team the game," Ausmus said. "I think the thing that makes guys like Joe so good is they're ready to come back the next day."
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