DETROIT — Mike Aviles was looking for a sacrifice fly that would snap a scoreless tie. Instead he got a game-breaking grand slam.
Aviles homered in the ninth inning to give the Indians a much-needed 4-0 victory over the Tigers on Sunday, moments after he hoped one of his pop flies in foul territory would be caught.
Before sending a thigh-high pitch over the leftfield fence, Aviles hit two drives into foul territory, including one that second baseman Omar Infante almost caught.
"I wanted him to catch it," Aviles acknowledged. "I'm not even going to lie.
"I was hoping Infante was going to catch that ball, and I was hoping that Torii (Hunter) was going to catch the next one. Both of them would have had really tough throws to make."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Infante shouldn't have tried to catch it. Detroit had just intentionally loaded the bases to try to set up an inning-ending double play.
"If you knew they were going to get a grand slam instead of one run, then you'd say catch it," Leyland joked.
The AL Central leaders had won seven straight against second-place Cleveland.
"This feels really good because we're tired of not shaking hands at the end of games when we play that team," Aviles said.