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Mike Aviles breaks scoreless tie in the ninth with a grand slam as Indians beat Tigers

Sep 1, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera AP

It was a pitcher’s duel in Detroit this afternoon as the Tigers and Indians wrapped up a three-game weekend series. Tigers starter Justin Verlander held the Tribe scoreless through seven innings, allowing just four hits and walking two while striking out six. Indians starter Danny Salazar matched him, holding the Tigers at bay through six scoreless frames, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out five.

Both bullpens held the line until Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit took the hill in the top of the ninth. Benoit walked Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley to start the inning on the wrong foot. Asdrubal Cabrera bunted both runners into scoring position, forcing Tigers manager Jim Leyland to issue Jason Kubel an intentional walk, Benoit’s third walk of the inning. On a 2-2 count, Benoit threw a slider up and over the plate. Aviles crushed it, driving the pitch well beyond the fence in left field for a tie-breaking grand slam. That was the end of Benoit’s afternoon. Al Alburquerque entered and prevented any further damage.

In a non-save situation, Chris Perez danced around a couple base runners in the bottom half of the ninth to seal the 4-0 victory for the Indians. They are now 7.5 games behind the Tigers in second place in the AL Central. The two teams do not play each other again for the remainder of the season, so if the Indians are hoping to squeeze into the post-season, going for one of the two AL Wild Card slots seems more realistic. They are currently four games behind the Rays for the second Wild Card.

  1. sabatimus - Sep 1, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Wow, how do you get ELEVEN hits with zero runs?

    • historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      It wasn’t fun to watch, I’ll tell you.

    • nbjays - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      They were obviously “scattered” hits.

      • jarathen - Sep 2, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        That’s the sign of a good pitcher. Pitching to the bases. That’s even better than pitching to score, a real and teachable skill!

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