Santana's slam lifts Indians past Tigers, 9-5
CLEVELAND – Carlos Santana hit a grand slam with one out in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a 9-5 win over the Detroit Tigers as the surging Indians extended their home winning streak to 11 games Friday night.
It was the latest dramatic win for the Indians, who mobbed Santana at home plate after the switch-hitter drove a 3-1 pitch off Joaquin Benoit (0-1) over the right-field wall.
Chris Perez (1-1) pitched one perfect inning for the win as Cleveland twice overcame three-run deficits to earn their fourth straight win overall and hand the Tigers their fourth consecutive loss. The Indians remained unbeaten at Progressive Field since April 2 — their longest streak at home since winning 13 in a row in 1996.
Jack Hannahan singled up the middle to start the rally and was replaced by pinch-runner Adam Everett. Grady Sizemore then lined a 2-1 pitch to right for a single, sending Everett to third.
Asdrubal Cabrera, whose two-run homer in the seventh had tied the score, was intentionally walked, but Benoit came back to strike out Shin-Soo Choo on three pitches before Santana delivered.
It gave Cleveland 17 wins in April, the most by the franchise in 111 years in the AL.
Matt LaPorta hit a solo homer off Tigers starter Max Scherzer to tie it at 5 in the seventh. One pitch after manager Jim Leyland visited the mound, Cabrera drove his fifth homer into the right-field seats. LaPorta's homer was his fourth.
Scherzer, seeking to become Detroit's first pitcher with five wins before May 1 since Frank Tanana in 1988, had a two-hit shutout until two outs in the sixth.
Cleveland quickly loaded the bases on a single by Cabrera and walks to Choo and Santana. Shelley Duncan, in the lineup in place of DH Travis Hafner, grounded a two-run single between third and short to get the Indians within 3-2.
Hafner missed his second straight game with a sore right ankle. The left-handed slugger is hitting .342 with four homers in 21 games this year and is 6 for 10 with a homer and three RBIs in his career against Scherzer.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez in the first. It was his sixth and first by a Detroit batter in six games.
Cabrera had two hits and twice flew out to deep center as he continued to pound Cleveland pitching. Since joining the Tigers in 2008, he is hitting .332 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs in 53 games against Cleveland.
Alex Avila put Detroit ahead 3-0 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
After the Indians rallied in the sixth, the Tigers restored their three-run lead in the seventh on an RBI single by Jhonny Peralta and another sac fly by Avila.
Gomez allowed three runs and 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings, striking out four without a walk. The right-hander made his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on April 19 when right-hander Mitch Talbot went on the disabled list with a sore elbow.
NOTES: Manager Manny Acta said the team is awaiting MRI exam results on Hafner. ... Tigers CF Austin Jackson went 2 for 5. He was 7 for his last 54. ... Detroit RF Magglio Ordonez was 4 for 27 (.148) before a fifth-inning single. ... RHP Alex White came to Cleveland on Friday, but won't be officially called up from Triple-A Columbus until tomorrow to make his major-league debut as the Indians' starter. ... Cleveland assigned RHP Adam Miller to Class A Kinston out of extended spring training. A first-round sandwich pick in 2003, Miller has not pitched in a game since May 20, 2008, at Triple-A Buffalo due to a series of surgeries on his right long finger.