CLEVELAND (AP) - After 14 exhausting innings, the Detroit Tigers were tired.
And the Cleveland Indians were closer to their tails.
Detroit's David Pauley hit Kosuke Fukudome on the arm with the bases loaded in the 14th to score Asdrubal Cabrera as the second-place Indians pulled within three games of the Tigers in the AL Central with a 3-2 win on Tuesday night - actually at 2 a.m. Wednesday.
``It was a hard-fought game, a terrific game,' said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who was proud of the way his team scrapped. ``Same all night for both teams. Their bullpen did a great job. Our bullpen did a great job. They couldn't get a key hit. We couldn't get a key hit.'
In the 14th, Pauley (5-5) walked Cabrera with one out before Travis Hafner ripped a single past second baseman Carlos Guillen, sending Cabrera to third. The Tigers intentionally walked Carlos Santana to load the bases and face Fukudome, who had struck out in his previous four at_bats.
Pauley's 1-2 pitch was inside and hit Fukudome, making the Indians 4-0 at home against the Tigers with each win coming in Cleveland's final at-bat.
``It was the right pitch at the right time, just a little too far inside,' said Pauley, Detroit's sixth reliever after starter Doug Fister was pulled after a lengthy rain delay. ``I was in a tough situation, but I've got to make a better pitch.'
Cleveland won the opener of its most critical series in several years, and it took the Indians nearly seven hours to do it. The rain delay was tough on both teams.
``Out in the bullpen we kind of figured we were all going to get in,' said Daniel Schlereth, who worked a scoreless seventh and eighth. ``But we didn't expect to go until 2 in the morning. We need to come back and win tomorrow. I mean, today.'
The Indians have won 12 straight over the Tigers at Progressive Field, and it took eight pitchers to keep their Michigan neighbors from opening a larger lead in the division.
Fukudome was mobbed near first base as if he had just doubled off the wall, but the Indians' celebration was more subdued than previous dramatic wins.
Frank Herrmann (3-0), Cleveland's final pitcher and the last reliever available, pitched two hitless innings for the win.
``It was kind of anticlimactic,' Herrmann said of the Indians' short celebration. ``But at that point, I don't think anybody wanted a redo.'
Both bullpens were brilliant. The Tigers gave up just three hits over the final 12 innings with 13 strikeouts.
Cleveland's relievers weren't quite as good, allowing six hits and fanning 11 over 12 innings after the rain delay.
Not long after Indians fans got loose with a 14th-inning stretch, the Indians gave the few die-hard fans still on hand a reason to dance.
The Indians blew a chance to take the lead in the eighth, when they failed to execute a suicide squeeze.
Pinch-hitter Jason Donald led off by doubling to the deepest part of Progressive Field off Schlereth. Ezequiel Carrera then failed to get down a bunt before moving Donald to third with a groundout. The Indians tried to squeeze Donald home, but Michael Brantley couldn't get his bat on a low, outside curveball, and catcher Alex Avila charged up the line to tag Donald, who didn't have a chance.
Brantley flew out to left to end the inning, and as he neared first base the Cleveland outfielder slammed his batting helmet in frustration.
A 2-hour, 3-minute rain delay after the second inning forced both managers to pull their starting pitchers and dip into their bullpens early.
Sensing the series' importance, and not wanting to play from behind, the Indians took a 2-0 lead in the first.
Jason Kipnis doubled with one out and scored on Cabrera's single. Hafner followed with a single, sending Cabrera to third, where he scored on Santana's sacrifice fly to medium center. It was a good start for the Indians, who are 36-18 in games in which they score first.
But the Tigers tied it with a methodical third. Detroit got two singles, a walk and RBI groundouts from Don Kelly and Austin Jackson.
After the Indians were retired in the bottom half, thunderstorms moved in off Lake Erie and caused the delay, which chased away a huge chunk of the crowd and muted some of the buzz.
Notes: Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 6 for his 40th multihit game. ... There were 439 pitches - 219 for Detroit, 220 for Cleveland. ... Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0), acquired last week in a deadline deal with Colorado, will make his Cleveland debut in the second game of the series against Detroit's Rick Porcello (11-6). ... With no setbacks, Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo could be back in one week. He's been out since June 25 with a broken left thumb and is currently on a rehab assignment. Meanwhile, there's no telling if, or when, OF Grady Sizemore will be ready. Indians manager Manny Acta said the three-time All-Star, sidelined with a bruised right knee, won't return until September - at the earliest. There's a possibility Sizemore's season could be over. ... The Tigers are 25-15 in the AL Central, and are in the midst of playing 12 of 15 inside the division.
The Associated Press News Service
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