Cleveland - No matter the situation, the upstart Cleveland Indians can do no wrong this season.
Cleveland has baseball’s best record at 19-8 after Michael Brantley singled home the go-ahead run in a three-run eighth inning Sunday and the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-4, for their 13th straight home win.
“I don’t think anybody could see this coming,” closer Chris Perez said. “Everything is coming together. The starting pitchers are keeping us in there, the bullpen is doing the job. Two outs, none on? The offense will do something. This is a lot of fun.”
Cleveland’s third consecutive victory in its last at-bat and sixth straight overall pushed Detroit’s losing streak to six games. It also gave the Indians five series sweeps this season, one more than all of 2010 when they went 69-93.
“A super, fantastic homestand. Just terrific,” manager Manny Acta said. “Winning breeds confidence, and these kids right now are feeling pretty good.”
Brantley followed a tying RBI single by Orlando Cabrera by lining an 0-1 pitch from Joaquin Benoit (0-2) to left, scoring Shelley Duncan from second base.
Matt LaPorta added a sacrifice fly for his third RBI and a 5-3 lead as Cleveland extended its best home start in 70 years. The Indians are 13-2 at home for the first time since 1941. They didn’t get their 13th home win in 2010 until June 28.
“It’s amazing,” veteran infielder Adam Everett said. “You can’t script out the way we’re winning. These guys never quit and it’s really exciting.”
Chad Durbin (1-1) struck out the only batter he faced, Brandon Inge, to end the eighth. Perez yielded an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth before earning his seventh save.
Next up, a six-game trip to the West Coast, starting Tuesday in Oakland. Acta believes the Indians can win there, too.
“Expectations don’t change,” he said. “You try to win every game. We’ll try to take some home cooking on the road.”
Detroit let leads slip away in all three games in Cleveland, with Benoit twice failing to stop the surging Indians. After serving up a game-ending grand slam to Carlos Santana on Friday night, he yielded a single to Shin-Soo Choo to start the eighth and plunked Duncan in the hand with one out Sunday. Orlando Cabrera then singled off the glove of a diving Inge at third to score Choo for a 3-all tie.
“I’m struggling,” Benoit said. “Nothing is going right for me now.”