Indians Avoid the Sweep With Tie-Breaking Grand Slam Against Joaquín Benoit In the Ninth

Nick made his MLB debut in the seventh.

Nick made his MLB debut in the seventh.

The Tigers and Indians had been locked in a scoreless pitchers’ duel (sort of, the teams had already turned to their bullpens by the ninth inning) when Joaquín Benoit came on in the top of the ninth to preserve a 0-0 tie. Benoit struggled early and often as he walked three batters, including an intentional walk to recent acquisition Jason Kubel, and gave up the eventual game winning grand slam to Mike Avilés.

More after the cut

Until the Avilés slam in the ninth, the two teams’ pitching staffs had matched one another zero for zero. Justin Verlander went seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks, while striking out six. Verlander, after a rocky first outing, regrouped and pitched a strong ballgame, firing 98 and 99 mph fastballs to blow away Kubel and induced an Avilés ground out to end an Indians scoring threat in the seventh.

The Indians’ starter, Danny Salazar, was on a strict pitch count, and it was hardly a problem for him as he cruised through his six innings of work. Salazar gave up six hits and struck out five, as the Tigers were only able to mount a couple real threats against him that fizzled out. The Tigers didn’t really threaten again until the ninth, when Chris Perez came into the game to get some work. Perez again looked somewhat shaky, but was able to escape the ninth and nail down the victory, despite allowing three hits.

Also of note, rookie Nick Castellanos, who was called up as part of the Tigers’ series of September call ups, debuted as a pinch hitter for Don Kelly in the seventh inning. Castellanos flied out on the second pitch to right field. In his second at bat, he grounded out to shot.

Miguel Cabrera got his second straight day off as Ramon Santiago filled in at third. Santiago went 1-for-4. Omar Infante, who stepped up big in Cabrera’s absence last night, had another strong game as he went 2-for-4, with a deep ground rule double to left center in the ninth.

The Tigers head into Boston tomorrow for a matinee appearance. Doug Fister (11-7, 3.81 ERA) goes against John Lackey (8-11, 3.19 ERA) at 1:35pm.

Switch to our mobile site

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed