Indians’ 2-run ninth drops Tigers 2 back in Central
ASSOCIATED PRESS September 16, 2012 11:48PM
Cleveland Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall, second from left, is mobbed by teammates after hitting a game winning RBI-single off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Cleveland. The Indians won 7-6. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
CLEVELAND — The Detroit Tigers lost their manager, catcher and a crucial game in the AL Central race.
Now, the Tigers are hoping to quickly rebound from their sour Sunday after twice blowing leads to the Cleveland Indians.
Lonnie Chisenhall singled in the winning run with one out in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a 7-6 win — the Indians’ first at home when trailing after eight innings in more than a year.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was ejected and catcher Alex Avila hurt in a collision with Prince Fielder as Detroit dropped two games back in the AL Central. The Tigers go to Chicago to face the first-place White Sox on Monday.
“It was a good comeback,” Leyland said. “There wasn’t anything cheap about it. It was a heck of a ballgame. Give them credit. That’s the way it goes. Turn the page and move on.”
Before the game, Leyland said the makeup of Thursday’s rainout with the White Sox would be huge since it is the last meeting between the rivals.
It is even bigger for the Tigers after Cleveland’s comeback.
Jason Kipnis doubled off Jose Valverde (3-3) and scored the tying run on a one-out triple by Carlos Santana. Right fielder Don Kelly nearly made a leaping catch, but the ball dropped as he crashed into the wall.
Valverde then intentionally walked both Michael Brantley and Ezequiel Carrera to face Chisenhall, who lined the first pitch to right-center.
“You’ve got to get the ball to the outfield there,” Chisenhall said. “They weren’t walking guys to get to me, I’d like to think. They were trying to get the bases loaded and have the force out.
“It’s definitely exciting. You like to win games like that.”
Esmil Rogers (2-1) pitched one inning for Cleveland, an AL-worst 17-45 since the All-Star break, and just 11-37 since July 26.
Miguel Cabrera, with visiting Detroit fans chanting “MVP! MVP!” hit a three-run homer in the seventh to put the Tigers ahead 6-5. Cabrera connected off Joe Smith for a 402-foot drive.
But Valverde got his fifth blown save in 36 chances as he worked for the third day in a row.
“We were asking a lot of Valverde,” Leyland said. “He had better velocity than he had the last couple of nights. We talked to him before the game and he said he was good to go.”
Valverde credited the Indians.
“I made good pitches, but they hit them,” he said. “I want to be perfect, but I am not. Now, let’s go to Chicago and win.”
Cleveland scored two unearned runs in the fifth for a 4-3 lead after trailing 3-0. Leyland got tossed for arguing the play that put the Indians ahead.
With the score tied at 3, first-base umpire Brian Knight ruled shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s throw trying for an inning-ending double play was too late as Brantley scored from third base.
First baseman Prince Fielder hopped off the bag and yelled and Leyland came out to disagree. Cabrera was restrained by other umps from going across the diamond from his third base position to join in.
Earlier in the inning, Leyland disputed a call by Knight that also kept Detroit from turning a double play.
“They were unbelievable bang-bang plays,” Leyland said. “At this time of year with the importance, you get a little more excited. Obviously, I thought they were out. The umpire saw it differently.”
Avila left in the sixth after colliding with Fielder. Avila was about to catch Santana’s foul pop along the warning track in front of Detroit’s dugout when Fielder, listed at 275 pounds, ran into him. The ball dropped and so did Avila.
“It looked like a knockout punch,” Leyland said. “The elbow got him in the jaw.”
Leyland said trainers told him Avila has a sprained jaw, no concussion, and could possibly play Monday. Leyland said he likely was going to rest Avila anyway against White Sox lefty Jose Quintana.
Given new life, Santana got an RBI single on another questionable call by Knight. With Asdrubal Cabrera on second, Santana hit a grounder between third and short that Miguel Cabrera snared with a dive. His high throw from his knees pulled Fielder off the bag, but the first baseman tagged Santana. Knight ruled safe as Asdrubal Cabrera kept running and scored.
Fielder and acting manager Lloyd McClendon both protested.
“It was a weird game,” Tigers starter Rick Porcello said. “Whether we get those calls or not is tough to say. It was frustrating, but you have to deal with it and push on.”
Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first off Ubaldo Jimenez. Both runs scored as Brennan Boesch was safe with a bases-loaded infield single when Jimenez fielded his slow tapper, but threw low and late to first for an error.
Cleveland loaded the bases on three walks in the first, but Porcello got Russ Canzler to hit the ball back to him and made the play for the third out.
Delmon Young, hitting .167 (5 of 30) in the Tigers’ previous eight games, hit an RBI single to make it 3-0 in the third.
Porcello gave up three hits in the fourth as Cleveland got within 3-2. Shin-Soo Choo’s two-run bloop single to left drove in Canzler, who had singled and came after a two-out double by Jack Hannahan.
NOTES: Cleveland won the season series, 10-8. ... Tigers CF Austin Jackson was a late scratch because of a sore left knee. He got hurt trying to make a catch Saturday when he ran into the center-field fence. “I definitely anticipate playing (Monday),” Jackson said. “We’ll see. It hurt too much today.” ... Peralta played his 73rd straight game without an error, longest streak by a Tigers shortstop since at least 1957. Eddie Brinkman had a 72-game streak in 1972. ... Miguel Cabrera has hit .369 (7 of 19) with 2 homers and 7 RBIs off Smith. ... Jimenez, 1-9 in 13 starts since the All-Star break, still has a 9-16 record and avoided becoming the first Indians pitcher to lose 17 games since Tom Candiotti went 7-18 in 1987. ... Indians 1B Matt LaPorta was twice shaken up after crashing into a railing while trying to catch foul popups in the same at-bat by Tigers 2B Omar Infante in the ninth. He stayed in the game.