CLEVELAND (AP) — After 475 pitches, 20 runs and more than five hours of baseball, the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers settled this lengthy game in a most bizarre fashion: a walkoff balk.
Al Alburquerque’s bases-loaded balk in the 13th inning Wednesday gave the Indians an 11-10 victory over Detroit.
“I don’t even know where to start with that game,” Indians right-fielder David Murphy said. “I don’t know if that was a baseball game or a marathon combined with a circus.”
Murphy tied the game that took 5 hours, 16 minutes in the ninth with a two-run homer off Joe Nathan
Alex Avila’s two-out homer in the top of the 13th put Detroit ahead, but the Indians scored twice for their second walkoff win in the three-game sweep.
Mike Aviles led off with a single against Phil Coke (0-1) and took second on Michael Bourn’s sacrifice. After Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch, Michael Brantley lined a single to left for his fourth hit that scored Aviles, who slid home before Rajai Davis’ throw.
After a groundout, Alburquerque relieved and pinch-hitter Yan Gomes was walked intentionally to load the bases. Ryan Raburn took the first pitch for a ball. As Alburquerque went into his set position, he appeared to move his leg and glove and then stopped.
Indians manager Terry Francona couldn’t remember a game ending on a balk, but he knew Alburquerque committed one.
“It was definitely a balk,” he said. “If they hadn’t have called it we would have went out there and argued.”
The Tigers put up no argument.
“He just went to come set and he stopped and it was pretty blatant,” Avila said. “There wasn’t any controversy about that one.”
According to STATS, the game-ending balk is the first since July 4, 2011, when the Royals’ Aaron Crow committed one in the ninth inning against the White Sox. It’s also the first walkoff balk in extra innings since June 16, 2011, when the Mets’ D.J. Carrasco did it against the Braves.
Josh Tomlin (3-1), the Indians’ ninth pitcher, worked the final three innings.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and manager Brad Ausmus were ejected in the sixth inning by plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing balls and strikes.
Raburn raised his arms in victory after the balk was called and the Indians rushed from the dugout to mob Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera had been hit on the knee by Coke’s pitcher and spent several moments on the ground before going to first.
The Indians’ bid to win in the 10th ended when Davis’ throw to the plate got Lonnie Chisenhall, who was trying to score on Bourn’s flyball.
Zach McAllister allowed four runs in the first and didn’t retire a batter in the third. Having already used seven relievers, Francona had no choice but to call on Tomlin in the 11th even though the right-hander was scheduled to start Thursday in Baltimore.
Asked how long Tomlin would have pitched, Francona said, “Till we won or lost. There was nobody else.”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before, but I was ready,” Tomlin. “They asked me about the 10th inning if I could pitch, so I ran and got my spikes.”
A roster move to add Thursday’s starter will be made before that game.
Max Scherzer allowed seven runs in seven innings. He gave up one run in the first, five in the second and another in the third, but blanked the Indians over his final four innings of work. The right-hander gave up 12 hits and threw 113 pitches.
Scherzer, last season’s AL Cy Young winner, had allowed six total runs in his previous six starts, all wins, over 39 innings.
A dropped throw by Cabrera helped Detroit break a 7-all tie in the eighth.
J.D. Martinez, who hit a two-run homer in the first, had three RBIs. Victor Martinez was 3 for 6 with two RBIs, including a solo homer in the third.
Chisenhall hit a solo homer for Cleveland.
McAllister allowed five runs in two innings.
NOTES: Tigers OF Torii Hunter had the day off. … Indians DH Jason Giambi played for the first time since May 3 when he strained his right calf. He came off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. … Victor Martinez is 8 for 13 with seven RBIs lifetime against McAllister. … Bench coach Gene Lamont ran the team after Ausmus was ejected. … McAllister is 0-4 with a 9.51 ERA in his last six starts.