CLEVELAND — Maybe this is what the Indians needed to save their sinking ship.
A visit from Central Division-leading Detroit didn’t appear to be ideal tonic for the struggling hosts, but the Indians got the three-game series off on a high note in dramatic fashion Monday night at Progressive Field.
Snapping a four-game skid and ending the Tigers’ six-game winning streak in the process, the Indians powered their way to a 5-4 walk-off victory in 10 innings, with Michael Brantley hitting a two-out home run off Al Alburquerque to touch off the celebration.
It was just the second walk-off win of the season for Cleveland, which produced 11 walk-off wins in 2013.
The Indians, fresh off a three-game sweep at the hands of visiting Oakland, led 4-3 heading to the ninth inning. With deposed closer John Axford in the bullpen, manager Terry Francona went with right-hander Cody Allen in the ninth, Allen surrendering a game-tying homer to pinch hitter J.D. Martinez. It was Martinez’s first homer of the season.
Alburquerque got two quick outs in the 10th before Brantley worked the count to 3-2, then lined the payoff pitch over the wall in right field for his team-leading ninth homer.
The Indians got another quality outing from starting pitcher Corey Kluber, who allowed three earned runs on eight hits while striking out eight over seven innings.
A leadoff homer from Victor Martinez in the second inning accounted for Detroit’s first run, with Kluber holding a vaunted lineup scoreless until Rajai Davis’ two-run double in the seventh.
Davis’ double tied it at 3, but Cleveland fought back in the bottom of the inning, forging ahead on a sacrifice fly from Jesus Aguilar.
The Indians got multi-hit efforts from five players — Asdrubal Cabrera, Brantley, Ryan Raburn, Yan Gomes and Nick Swisher.
Swisher, batting just .196 to begin the night, reached base in three of his first four trips to the plate, producing two base hits and driving in a run.