Detroit, MI – Mike Aviles' grand slam in the ninth inning lifted the Cleveland Indians to a 4-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in the finale of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Joaquin Benoit (4-1) issued back-to-back walks to open the inning. After Asdrubal Cabrera's bunt moved the runners to second and third, Benoit intentionally walked Jason Kubel to load the bases.
Aviles then crushed a hanging slider over the wall in left field to give Cleveland the lead.
"I was fortunate enough to get a ball that stayed in the middle. I think he was trying to go away with it. I was able to get a good swing on it. I knew off the bat it was at least a sac fly and I was praying it went over," said Aviles.
Joe Smith (6-2) earned the win despite putting two runners on base in the eighth, and Chris Perez left a pair of runners on in the ninth to seal the win.
The contest had all the makings of a pitchers duel, with both team's starter going at least six scoreless frames.
Detroit's Justin Verlander, who was 0-2 over his previous four starts, scattered four hits and two walks while striking out six over seven innings.
"Justin pitched a great game and I came in and gave up four runs. Obviously we would love to have gotten the sweep, but they're a big league team and got the best of us in the last game," said Benoit.
Meanwhile, Cleveland's Danny Salazar gave up six hits and struck out five without issuing a walk over six innings.
The Tigers put runners on the corners in the fifth inning after Alex Avila and Andy Dirks singled around a Ramon Santiago strikeout, but Salazar got Jose Iglesias to pop out to end the frame.
Detroit threatened once again in the seventh after Omar Infante singled and Avila walked with one out. Cody Allen, though, got Santiago to ground out and Dirks to strike out to escape the inning.
Salazar hasn't picked up a win since his MLB debut on July 11 ... The Indians won for just the fourth time in 19 matchups with Detroit ... Cleveland had dropped seven straight to Detroit entering the game ... The Tigers lead Cleveland by 7 1/2 games atop the AL Central standings ... Detroit went 1- for-7 with runners in scoring position.