On a night when it seemed the 27th out might never come for the Cleveland Indians, Chris Perez threw one last fastball to Miguel Cabrera and hoped the Detroit slugger would hit it on the ground.
''He chopped it,'' Perez said. ''I wanted him to put something in play, but down. Luckily he did.''
Perez got Cabrera to hit a game-ending groundout with two on in the ninth inning, and Cleveland held on for a 7-6 win over the Tigers on Saturday night. Ubaldo Jimenez outpitched Justin Verlander, but Detroit's late rally forced the Indians to sweat out a tense finish.
Perez came on to pitch the ninth with Cleveland ahead 7-5. He was in a jam after a one-out error by first baseman Nick Swisher and a single by Omar Infante, but second baseman Jason Kipnis made a sparkling play behind second, fielding Austin Jackson's grounder up the middle and flipping behind his back to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera for a force.
''Awesome - that saved me,'' Perez said. ''It made up for Swish's play. Baseball ...