Carlos Santana hit a tiebreaking, bases-clearing double with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Cleveland Indians to a 5-2 win Saturday night that sealed a sweep of the doubleheader.
The Indians have won four straight, three in a row at Detroit, to pull within 4 1/2 games of the AL Central-leading Tigers.
Cleveland won the first game 6-2 thanks in large part to Corey Kluber’s strong outing.
Chris Dickerson hit a pair of solo homers off Max Scherzer— in the third and sixth innings — to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead in the second game of the day-night doubleheader.
The Tigers tied it in the seventh when Austin Jackson hit a two-out triple to score Eugenio Suarez from first after he beat a throw on a potential double play to extend the inning.
The Indians loaded the bases in the ninth against Joe Nathan (4-3) with Roberto Perez’s leadoff double, Jason Kipnis’ walk and Michael Brantley’s free pass and Santana took advantage, sending a pitch off the right-center wall to turn a 3-all game into a 6-3 lead.
Carlos Carrasco (3-3) pitched a perfect eighth and Cody Allen closed the game for his 13th save in 14 chances.
Scherzer gave up six hits, a season-high matching four walks and two runs — both to Cleveland’s No. 9 hitter — over 52/3 innings that included a season-high 118 pitches.
Detroit’s Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain combined to pitch 22/3 innings of scoreless relief before Nathan gave up two hits, two walks — one intentional — and struck out two in the pivotal ninth.
Zach McAllister, the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader, allowed only one run on three hits and three walks while striking out six over 51/3 innings. John Axford inherited Miguel Cabrera on second base and allowed him to get to third on a wild pitch, then stranded him by striking out J.D. Martinez and Torii Hunter to end the inning. Scott Atchison likely would have gotten out of the seventh inning without giving up a run if Kipnis did not appear to bobble the ball on a potential double play at second base that allowed Suarez to reach and later score on Jackson’s triple.
The Indians could lean on their bullpen in the nightcap because Kluber pitched so well in the first game. He came within an out of a complete game, striking out 10 to lift the Indians to a 6-2 win in the opener.