The Cleveland Indians have won games in a lot of different games this season, but from the walk-off home runs to the slugfests and blow outs, no decision was as unique as how their 11-10 victory over the Detroit Tigers ended at Progressive Field Wednesday afternoon.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning, Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque was called for a balk, which allowed Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to score the winning run.
"That was weird, but I'll take it," Indians outfielder David Murphy told Sportstime Ohio after the win. "It's been a long day and we're ready to get out of here."
Cabrera was able to score the winning run despite taking a pitch off the knee that resulted in a several-minute delay as he was attended to by the Indians' training staff, but Cleveland manager Terry Francona had no doubt his shortstop would remain in the game.
"He was willing to," Francona said. "I'm sure he's sore. That's another thing. I'm sure he's going to be sore tomorrow. We're going to have to see where we are tomorrow, but his willingness to stay in the game, and as much as he was hurting, jockeying around third, causing that balk, that's a kid that wants to win.
"Everybody knew he was hurting. It's a kid that wants to win."
Murphy played a big part in tying the game in the bottom of the ninth inning after the Tigers carried a two-run lead into the final frame. Murphy came to the plate with left fielder Michael Brantley on first after singling to right field, and took the 1-0 curveball from his former teammate, Joe Nathan, over the wall in right-center field for the game-tying home run.
"I was just looking for anything in the middle, not necessarily a curveball, but I saw it well," Murphy said. "He threw it on the first pitch as well. I saw it well the second pitch. He left it up a little bit more, and it felt great. Praise the Lord, it was a good swing."
After Murphy tied the game in the ninth inning, Brantley delivered a game-tying RBI single to left field in the bottom of the 13th that allowed Mike Aviles to score underneath the relay throw.
"He's just amazing," Murphy said of Brantley. "You get him up in any situation, he's going to come through. We couldn't pick a better guy to be up there in that situation today, and he definitely came through for us."
With Wednesday's win, the Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers, who entered the series as the best team in baseball. The Indians, meanwhile, had been heading in the other direction, as they were swept by the Oakland Athletics over the weekend.
"I thought these three games was important for us in a number of ways, but we did so many things well," Francona said. "We made some mistakes, and you're going to make mistakes, but we picked each other up. We looked to pick each other up, and the good part was, it showed up on the scoreboard. Regardless, if we play like that, with that much passion, we're going to be okay.
"I didn't know if it was going to end. It was one of the (more) fun games I've been a part of. Obviously, you want to come out on the winning side, but either way, we took enormous steps this week to getting that personality and getting that chemistry. All of the things that you talk about, that you're dying to get to, we took some enormous strides getting there, and today was a really good example."