Mike Aviles’ ninth inning grand slam – the first of his career – proved to be the difference in the Indians 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
After Carlos Santana (pinch runner: Jose Ramirez) and Michael Brantley walked to open the ninth against Joaquin Benoit, Asdrubal Cabrera sacrificed both runners over. Then, Benoit intentionally walked new Indian Jason Kubel to get to Mike Aviles. On a 2-2 count, Aviles smacked an 89-mph slider to the left-field seats to put the Indians up 4-0.
Even Aviles was astonished by his hit. “I have no idea when I hit my last (grand slam). I’ve hit a lot in my sleep. I might have hit one last night.” said Aviles.
Danny Salazar started for the Indians and put together a gem, going six innings allowing six hits, walking none and striking out five. Salazar did run into trouble twice, however. With runners at second and third with one out, Jose Iglesias grounded to third baseman Mike Aviles, who gunned down Alex Avila at home. Salazar was then able to get Torii Hunter to fly out to end the third. In the fifth, Salazar was able to get Jose Iglesias to pop out to end the inning with runners on the corners. Overall, another impressive start from Danny Salazar.
The Indians offense was ineffective against Tigers starter Justin Verlander, mustering only four hits off the Cy Young winner.
The Indians are now 4-15 against the Detroit Tigers this season, their worst performance against the Tigers in a season since 1960.
Next up for the Indians is a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles in Cleveland. The Indians will turn to All-Star Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.49 ERA) in Monday’s series opener, while the Orioles are set to tab Bud Norris (3-1, 4.91 ERA).
W – Joe Smith (6-2)
L – Joaquin Benoit (4-1)
A – 41,557