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Aviles' ninth-inning grand slam lifts Indians over Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Mike Aviles initially was looking for a sacrifice fly that would snap a scoreless tie. He ended up with a game-breaking grand slam.

Aviles homered in the ninth inning to give the Cleveland Indians a much-needed 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, moments after he hoped one of his pop flies in foul territory would be caught.

Before sending a thigh-high pitch over the left-field fence for his ninth homer, Aviles hit two drives into foul territory, including one that second baseman Omar Infante almost caught.

"I wanted him to catch it," Aviles acknowledged. "I'm not even going to lie.

"I was hoping Infante was going to catch that ball, and I was hoping that Torii (Hunter) was going to catch the next one. Both of them would have had really tough throws to make."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Infante shouldn't have attempted to catch the foul ball because it would've allowed Cleveland to take a 1-0 lead right after Detroit intentionally loaded the bases in the hopes of getting an inning-ending double play.

"If you knew they were going to get a grand slam instead of one run, then you'd say catch it," Leyland joked.

The AL Central leaders had won seven straight against second-place Cleveland. The Tigers won the season series 15-4, a string of success that has helped them build a 7-game cushion in the division with a month left in the regular season.

"This feels really good because we're tired of not shaking hands at the end of games when we play that team," Aviles said. "That's a team built to win championships, and they are even tougher to beat in this place."

Detroit, which is 44-27 at home, rested Miguel Cabrera for a second straight game because of a strained abdomen. Leyland said he doesn't know when the banged-up star will be back in the lineup.

"According to the medical people, that thing can heal while playing," Leyland said.

Joe Smith (6-2) got the win after giving up one hit and a walk in the eighth, keeping the Tigers scoreless after Danny Salazar's strong start.

That helped Cleveland avoid an 0-6 road trip.

"We needed this game because we've had a tough road trip and we haven't had a lot of success against those guys," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We want to keep playing until they make us stop."

Detroit tried to rally in the ninth, but a tough break on the bases proved costly.

Chris Perez gave up a one-out double to Infante, who was hit by Alex Avila's liner for the second out. The right-hander let No. 9 hitter Ramon Santiago extend the inning with a single, and a passed ball put the runners in scoring position before Andy Dirks grounded out to end the game.

"I hope this was huge for the team," Aviles said.

Joaquin Benoit (4-1) walked Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley to start the top of the ninth.

Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a sacrifice bunt, putting runners at second and third. The Tigers intentionally walked Jason Kubel to load the bases for Aviles, the No. 8 hitter, who said he had "no idea" when he last hit a grand slam.

"I know I've hit a lot of them in my sleep," he said.

Aviles' previous slam was two years ago while playing for Triple-A Omaha, a Kansas City affiliate.

Detroit's Justin Verlander extended his winless streak to five outings, but held a team scoreless for the first time since a seven-inning start on July 14 against Texas.

"I felt really good. Definitely a good sign," he said.

Verlander gave up four hits and two walks -- both in his shaky first inning -- and struck out six, the last of which was Kubel on a 99 mph fastball with a runner on third for the second out of the seventh.

The Indians' starter, Salazar, also didn't give up a run. He allowed six hits without a walk and struck out five over six innings.

"He used his off-speed stuff more," Leyland said. "I was surprised. He's a very talented guy."

Notes

The Tigers were also without center fielder Austin Jackson, a day after he hurt his right shoulder when he hit the wall trying to make a catch in Saturday night's win. ... Cleveland expanded its roster by five players, adding LHP Nick Hagadone, Jose Ramirez, 33-year-old C Kelly Shoppach, RHP Preston Guilmet and RHP Blake Wood. ... The Indians head home to play Baltimore on Monday night.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Mike Aviles and Asdrubal Cabrera share a hug after Aviles' grand slam in the ninth inning gives the Indians the lead. (USATSI)
Mike Aviles and Asdrubal Cabrera share a hug after Aviles' grand slam in the ninth inning gives the Indians the lead. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

M. Aviles
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Detroit

J. Verlander
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
 

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Cleveland Indians
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4000120 .265
Nick Swisher, 1B3010101 .243
Jason Kipnis, 2B3000111 .281
Carlos Santana, C3000103 .266
   Jose Ramirez, PR0100000 .000
Michael Brantley, LF3110112 .274
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS2000010 .241
Jason Kubel, DH3010121 .221
   Matt Carson, PR-DH0100000 .000
Mike Aviles, 3B4114002 .261
Drew Stubbs, RF4010021 .238
Totals2945469  
Batting
HR - Mike Aviles (9, Benoit)
SH - Asdrubal Cabrera 2 (4)
RBI - Mike Aviles 4 (39)
SB - Michael Bourn (21, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila), Nick Swisher (1, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila), Michael Brantley (15, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila)
PK - Drew Stubbs (1, Verlander)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Swisher-A. Cabrera-Salazar
PB - Yan Gomes (3)
Cleveland Indians
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Danny Salazar 6600050 3.00
Nick Hagadone 0.1100100 5.26
Cody Allen 0.2000010 2.44
Joe Smith (W,6-2) 1100100 2.56
Chris Perez 1300000 3.15
Pitches-Strikes - Danny Salazar 77-54, Nick Hagadone 11-5, Cody Allen 9-6, Joe Smith 11-5, Chris Perez 21-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Danny Salazar 6-6, Cody Allen 1-0, Chris Perez 2-0
Batters Faced - Danny Salazar 23, Nick Hagadone 3, Cody Allen 2, Joe Smith 4, Chris Perez 5
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andy Dirks, LF-CF5020014 .257
Jose Iglesias, SS4010012 .319
Torii Hunter, RF4000013 .304
Prince Fielder, 1B3010110 .269
Victor Martinez, DH4010002 .298
Don Kelly, CF2000011 .235
   a-Nick Castellanos, PH-LF2000000 .000
Omar Infante, 2B4020001 .320
Alex Avila, C3030100 .207
Ramon Santiago, 3B4010013 .228
Totals35011026  
a-flied out for Kelly in the 7th
Batting
2B - Andy Dirks (15, Salazar), Omar Infante (19, Perez)
CS - Jose Iglesias (2, 2nd base by Smith/Santana)
Team LOB - 10
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander 7400260 3.59
Bruce Rondon 1000110 3.67
Joaquin Benoit (L,4-1) 0.1144301 2.13
Al Alburquerque 0.2000020 4.76
IBB - Kubel by Joaquin Benoit
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 116-78, Bruce Rondon 14-8, Joaquin Benoit 24-10, Al Alburquerque 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 5-9, Bruce Rondon 1-1, Joaquin Benoit 1-0
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 26, Bruce Rondon 4, Joaquin Benoit 5, Al Alburquerque 2
Game Information
Attendance - 41557
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Victor Carapazza