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Santana lifts Indians with game-ending slam

Apr 30, 2011 - 4:44 AM Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Carlos Santana hit a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cleveland Indians a 9-5 comeback win over the Detroit Tigers in the start of a three-game set at Progressive Field.

"I am very excited," Santana said after belting his first career grand slam.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt LaPorta also homered for the Indians, who have won 11 straight at home and four in a row overall.

Chris Perez (1-1) got the victory after pitching a perfect ninth inning. Jeanmar Gomez did not have a great start but kept Cleveland in the game, allowing three runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Miguel Cabrera had a two-run homer and Alex Avila brought in two runs for Detroit, which was just swept by Seattle to end a six-game homestand 3-3.

Joaquin Benoit (0-1) served up Santana's grand slam in the ninth to take the loss.

"He pitched a good ballgame, he was just trying hard to shut it down at the end. Maybe a little too hard," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

The Tigers reliever was in trouble from the start after Jack Hannahan singled up the middle to lead off. After Grady Sizemore also singled, Benoit was forced to intentionally walk Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases with no outs. Benoit did get Shin-Soo Choo to strike out before throwing a fastball that Santana sent well over the right field fence for the win.

"We put together a lot of good at-bats against some good arms that they have out of the pen, especially Benoit. I don't remember the last time we scored against him," said Indians manager Manny Acta.

Detroit had been in the driver's seat for most of the game, thanks to Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer in the first. Ryan Raburn then scored on Avila's sacrifice fly in the fourth to give the Tigers a three-run edge.

Tigers starter Max Scherzer was cruising through the first five innings, but had some control issues when he walked Santana to load the bases with two outs in the sixth. Shelley Duncan followed up with a single through the right side to plate both Asdrubal Cabrera and Choo to make it a one-run game, 3-2.

Scherzer lasted 6 2/3 innings in the no decision, his first of the year, allowing five runs on six hits while walking five and striking out seven.

Detroit came right back in the seventh, though, with back-to-back singles to start out the inning. Jhonny Perlata delivered a single up the middle to score Miguel Cabrera and Avila's sac fly plated Brennan Boesch to push it back to a three-run game.

LaPorta's solo shot during the bottom of the frame made it a 5-3 game and Asdrubal Cabrera's two-run blast tied the game and set up Satana's heroics.

Game Notes

Though these clubs split 18 meetings last year, the Indians won eight of the nine played at Progressive Field...The Indians have swept four series thus far in the season. Last year they had four total...Boesch has hit safely in 17 consecutive games...Asdrubal Cabrera finished 2-for-3 and scored three times...Detroit, who out hit Cleveland 13-11, left 10 runners on base.