Once he discarded his bat, rounded the bases and tossed his helmet, Michael Brantley was doused with water by his celebrating teammates.
Just like that, a four-game losing streak and a forgettable weekend were washed away.
Brantley homered with two outs in the 10th inning off Al Alburquerque, giving the Cleveland Indians a 5-4 win over the drowsy Detroit Tigers on Monday night.
Brantley connected on a 3-2 pitch from Alburquerque (1-1), driving it into the Tigers’ bullpen to end Cleveland’s four-game slide. Brantley held onto his bat until he nearly reached first base, unsure if the ball was going to clear the wall.
“I was nervous,” Brantley said. “I didn’t know what do.”
After rounding third, Brantley flung his helmet to the side and received a wet welcome home. He was sprayed with bottles of water and then drenched by a bucket dumped over his head during a postgame interview.
Brantley’s homer warmed the Indians, who have seen errors and losses pile up lately. Over the weekend, they were outscored 30-6 in being swept by Oakland.
With the first-place Tigers in town, the Indians could not afford to fall any further in the AL Central and Brantley gave them a key win in the opener.
“As long as we win, that’s the main thing,” manager Terry Francona said. “But the way it ended — that was great.”
Scott Atchison (1-0) pitched a perfect 10th, retiring Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez for the first two outs.
Detroit’s J.D. Martinez hit a pinch-hit homer in the ninth off Cody Allen to tie it 4-all, but the Tigers could not muster more magic in extra innings.
The Tigers, who arrived just three hours before the first pitch because of travel delays from Boston, had their 11-game road winning streak ended.
“We knew the game would end at some point, and we’d be able to go back and get some sleep,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “We were hoping to go back and get some sleep with a win, but it wasn’t to be.”
In the other AL games, Alexei Ramirez homered and drove in four runs as Chicago climbed out of a five-run hole before holding on for a wild 7-6 win at Kansas City.
Also in the American League, Dallas Keuchel came within one out of his second consecutive shutout as Houston beat Los Angeles 5-2 for its first three-game winning streak of the season.
Keuchel (5-2) followed up his first career shutout with another gem, yielding five hits and striking out eight. He did not allow a runner past second base until the ninth, when manager Bo Porter pulled him after two-out infield singles by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.
In the National League, East division leader Atlanta had a 9-3 win over the Central division-leading Milwaukee.
Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton homered to help Mike Minor win his second consecutive start, while pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit also went deep for the Braves in a tantalizing matchup of first-place teams.
Atlanta began the night with the fewest runs in the major leagues, but the Braves banged out 15 hits and improved to 18-5 when hitting a home run.
In Washington, Todd Frazier’s two-run homer in the 15th inning lifted Cincinnati to a 4-3 win over the Nationals.
Brandon Phillips singled off Ross Detwiler (0-2) to open the inning and, with one out, Frazier homered to center.
Logan Ondrusek (1-2) worked two innings for the win, allowing an RBI single to Greg Dobbs in the bottom of the 15th before getting Danny Espinosa to fly out to deep right to end the marathon game after 4 hours, 58 minute.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
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