The Indians got some late-inning heroics Sunday afternoon as Lonnie Chisenhall‘s walkoff base hit off Detroit closer Joe Valverde capped a ninth inning rally as Cleveland came back to beat the Tigers, 7-6, in the finale of a three-game series at Progressive Field.
Things didn’t get off to a very good start for the Tribe. Base hits from Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera and a walk to Delmon Young loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first inning. Brennan Boesch then hit a swinging bunt single to the pitcher on which Ubaldo Jimenez misfired to first. Both Dirks and Cabrera scored as the Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Delmon Young’s RBI single in the third then made it a 3-0 game.
The Indians finally broke through in the middle innings. With runners at second and third and two outs in the fourth inning, Shin-Soo Choo delivered with a two-run single off Detroit starter Rick Porcello to make it a one-run game. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, Canzler’s RBI single brought home Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall’s fielder’s choice plated Michael Brantley as Cleveland took the lead.
Carlos Santana‘s RBI single in the sixth gave the Tribe an insurance run and a 5-3 advantage, but the deficit was erased and then some in the top of the seventh as Miguel Cabrera connected off Joe Smith for a three-run homer that put the Tigers up 6-5. Drew Smyly, Brayan Villarreal, and Phil Coke combined to keep the Tribe off the board in the seventh and eighth and preserve the lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
That’s when the Indians put on their rally caps. Jason Kipnis led off with a double to put the tying run in scoring position. Asdrubal Cabrera flied out, then Santana delivered with an RBI triple to tie the game and bring the winning run 90 feet from home plate. Valverde intentionally walked Michael Brantley and Ezequiel Carrera to bring up Lonnie Chisenhall, who hit the first pitch he saw for an RBI single to give Cleveland a 7-6 walkoff win.
The Good: Besides some terrific clutch hitting? Carlos Santana went 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI, Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a walk, and Russ Canzler went 2-for-3.
Ubaldo Jimenez was also solid, holding the Tigers to two earned runs (three runs total) on five hits in six innings. He gave up three walks while striking out only two, but that’s basically to be expected from Ubaldo at this point.
The Bad: Michael Brantley had the unenviable distinction of being the only member of the starting lineup to go hitless Sunday, though he did work a pair of walks.
Interesting Tidbit: Before Sunday, Cleveland hitters had gone 1-for-19 against Jose Valderde this season.