CLEVELAND (AP) - No one would blame the Detroit Tigers for being happy to go home.
The final leg of their road trip was one they would like to forget.
Not only were they swept in a three-game series by the Cleveland Indians, Wednesday's 11-10 loss in 13 innings ended on a walkoff balk.
Al Alburquerque's bases-loaded balk finished a trip that began with six straight wins on a down note.
Alex Avila's two-out homer in the top of the inning put Detroit ahead, but the Indians, who tied the game in the ninth on David Murphy's two-run homer off Joe Nathan, rallied again.
'It's very disappointing, you want to win the game especially having lost the first two in the series,' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. 'But you know, I think every team has two or three games like this over the course of the season where it's kind of a see-saw, it's a battle. Unfortunately, we didn't come out on top.'
Ausmus wasn't even around for the bizarre ending. He and slugger Miguel Cabrera were ejected in the sixth by plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing balls and strikes.
Mike Aviles led off with a single against Phil Coke (0-1) and took second on Michael Bourn's sacrifice. After Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch, Michael Brantley lined a single to left for his fourth hit that scored Aviles, who slid home before Rajai Davis' throw.
After a groundout, Alburquerque relieved and pinch-hitter Yan Gomes was walked intentionally to load the bases. Ryan Raburn took the first pitch for a ball. As Alburquerque went into his set position, he appeared to move his leg and glove and then stopped.
The Tigers put up no argument on how the 5-hour, 16-minute marathon that totaled 475 pitches finally ended.
'He just went to come set and he stopped and it was pretty blatant,' Avila said. 'There wasn't any controversy about that one.'
According to STATS, the walkoff balk is the first since July 4, 2011 when the Royals' Aaron Crow committed one in the ninth inning against the White Sox. It's also the first walkoff balk in extra innings since June 16, 2011 when the Mets' D.J. Carrasco did it against the Braves.
'I don't even know where to start with that game,' Murphy said. 'I don't know if that was a baseball game or a marathon combined with a circus.'
Detroit scored four times in the first, but AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer couldn't make the lead hold up, allowing seven runs in seven innings. He gave up one run in the first, five in the second and another in the third, but blanked the Indians over his final four innings of work. The right-hander gave up 12 hits and threw 113 pitches.
'They were ultra-aggressive today in trying to come at me,' said Scherzer, who had allowed six total runs in his previous six starts, all wins, over 39 innings. 'And when I left pitches in the zone, or when I fell behind, they did a great job of capitalizing on it.'
J.D. Martinez, who hit a two-run homer in the first, had three RBIs. Victor Martinez was 3 for 6 with two RBIs, including a solo homer in the third.
A dropped throw by Asdrubal Cabrera helped Detroit break a 7-all tie in the eighth.
The long afternoon capped an eventful three days for the Tigers, who were stranded in Boston on Sunday night because of mechanical problems with their plane, and didn't arrive in Cleveland until three hours prior to Monday night's game, which they lost in 10 innings. The defeat ended a six-game winning streak and an 11-game winning streak on the road.
Justin Verlander allowed five runs in the first two innings in Tuesday night's loss before Wednesday's unusual events.
'It was a tough loss,' Ausmus said. 'We played very well the first six games (of the road trip), and we come into Cleveland and get swept. It was a tough loss.'
Miguel Cabrera, the two-time AL MVP, was thrown out after taking a called strike on the first pitch. Ausmus charged out of the dugout and had a heated argument with Timmons before being kicked out for the first time in his managerial career.
Josh Tomlin (3-1) pitched the final three innings.
NOTES: Tigers OF Torii Hunter had the day off. ... Victor Martinez is 8 for 13 with seven RBIs lifetime against McAllister. ... Bench coach Gene Lamont ran the team after Ausmus was ejected. ... The Tigers open a four-game series at Comerica Park against Texas on Thursday afternoon.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved