CLEVELAND (AP) — Lonnie Chisenhall singled in the winning run with one out in the ninth inning to give the Cleveland Indians a 7-6 win over Detroit, dealing the playoff-hopeful Tigers a crucial loss Sunday.
The Tigers had manager Jim Leyland ejected and catcher Alex Avila hurt in a collision with Prince Fielder as they dropped two games behind in the AL Central. They go to Chicago to face the first-place White Sox on Monday.
Jason Kipnis doubled off Jose Valverde (3-3) and scored the tying run on a one-out triple by Carlos Santana.
Valverde then intentionally walked both Michael Brantley and Ezequiel Carrera to face Chisenhall, who lined the first pitch to right-center.
Esmil Rogers (2-1) pitched one inning for the win.
Miguel Cabrera, with visiting Detroit fans chanting “MVP! MVP!” hit a three-run homer in the seventh to put the Tigers ahead 6-5. Cabrera connected off Joe Smith (7-5) for a 402-foot drive.
But Valverde suffered his fifth blown save in 36 chances as he worked for the third day in a row. Before the game, Leyland said he would try to stay away from the right-hander, but would use him if needed.
The Indians, an AL-worst 17-45 since the All-Star break, are just 11-37 since July 26.
Cleveland scored two unearned runs in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead after trailing 3-0. Leyland was ejected for arguing a call on the play that put the Indians ahead.
With the score 3-3, first-base umpire Brian Knight ruled that shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s throw trying to complete an inning-ending double play was too late to beat Chisenhall as Brantley scored from third base.
First baseman Prince Fielder hopped off the bag and yelled after taking the throw and Leyland came out to argue. Cabrera was restrained by other umps from going from his third base position across the diamond to join in.
Earlier in the inning, Leyland disputed another call by Knight that kept Detroit from completing a double play on a grounder by Brantley.
Avila left in the sixth after colliding with Fielder while trying to catch a foul ball hit by Santana. Avila was about to catch it along the warning track in front of the Tigers’ dugout when Fielder, listed at 275 pounds, ran into him. The ball dropped and so did Avila.
Given new life, Santana got an RBI single on another questionable call by Knight. With Asdrubal Cabrera on second, Santana hit a grounder between third and short that Miguel Cabrera snared with a dive. His high throw from his knees pulled Fielder off the bag, but the first baseman tagged Santana. Knight ruled safe as Asdrubal Cabrera kept running and scored.
Fielder and acting manager Lloyd McClendon both protested the call.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first off Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Both runs scored as Brennan Boesch was safe with a bases-loaded infield single when Jimenez fielded his slow tapper in front of the plate and threw low and late to first for an error.
Cleveland loaded the bases on three walks in the first, but Tigers starter Rick Porcello got Russ Canzler to hit the ball back to him and made the play for the third out.
Delmon Young, hitting .167 (5 of 30) in the Tigers’ previous eight games, hit an RBI single to make it 3-0 in the third.
Porcello gave up three hits in the fourth as Cleveland got within 3-2. Shin-Soo Choo’s two-run bloop single to left drove in Canzler, who had singled and came after a two-out double by Jack Hannahan.
NOTES: Cleveland won the season series, 10-8. … Tigers CF Austin Jackson was a late scratch because of a sore left knee. He got hurt trying to make a catch Saturday when he ran into the center-field fence. … Peralta played his 73rd straight game without an error, longest streak by a Tigers shortstop since at least 1957. Eddie Brinkman had a 72-game streak in 1972. … Miguel Cabrera has hit .369 (7 of 19) with 2 homers and 7 RBIs off Smith. … Jimenez, 1-9 in 13 starts since the All-Star break, still has a 9-16 record and avoided becoming the first Indians pitcher to lose 17 games since Tom Candiotti went 7-18 in 1987. … Indians 1B Matt LaPorta was twice shaken up after crashing into a railing while trying to catch foul popups in the same at-bat by Tigers 2B Omar Infante in the ninth. He stayed in the game.