Al Alburquerque's bases-loaded balk in the 13th inning Wednesday gave the Indians an 11-10 victory over Detroit.
"I don't even know where to start with that game," Indians right-fielder David Murphy said. "I don't know if that was a baseball game or a marathon combined with a circus."
Murphy tied the game that took 5 hours, 16 minutes in the ninth with a two-run homer off Joe Nathan.
Alex Avila's two-out homer in the top of the 13th put Detroit ahead, but the Indians scored twice for their second walk-off win in the three-game sweep.
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, which 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.
Indians manager Terry Francona couldn't remember a game ending on a balk, but he knew Alburquerque committed one.
"It was definitely a balk," he said. "If they hadn't have called it, we would have went out there and argued."
The Tigers put up no argument.
"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 game-ending 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 walk-off balk in extra innings since June 16, 2011, when the Mets' D.J. Carrasco did it against the Braves.
Josh Tomlin (3-1), the Indians' ninth pitcher, worked the final three innings.
Raburn raised his arms in victory after the balk was called, and the Indians rushed from the dugout to mob Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera had been hit on the knee by Coke's pitch and spent several moments on the ground before going to first.
The Indians' bid to win in the 10th ended when Davis' throw to the plate got Lonnie Chisenhall, who was trying to score on Bourn's fly ball.
Zach McAllister allowed four runs in the first and didn't retire a batter in the third. Having already used seven relievers, Francona had no choice but to call on Tomlin in the 11th even though the right-hander was scheduled to start Thursday in Baltimore.
Asked how long Tomlin would have pitched, Francona said, "Till we won or lost. There was nobody else."
"I don't know if I've ever done that before, but I was ready," Tomlin said. "They asked me about the 10th inning if I could pitch, so I ran and got my spikes."
A roster move to add Thursday's starter will be made before that game.
Max Scherzer allowed 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.
Scherzer, last season's American League Cy Young winner, had allowed six total runs in his previous six starts, all wins, over 39 innings.
A dropped throw by Cabrera helped Detroit break a 7-all tie in the eighth.
Chisenhall hit a solo homer for Cleveland.
McAllister allowed five runs in two innings.
Tigers OF Torii Hunter had the day off. ... Indians DH Jason Giambi played for the first time since May 3, when he strained his right calf. He came off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. ... Victor Martinez is 8-for-13 with seven RBIs lifetime against McAllister. ... Bench coach Gene Lamont ran the team after Ausmus was ejected. ... McAllister is 0-4 with a 9.51 ERA in his past six starts.
- Home Plate Umpire - Tim Timmons
- First Base Umpire - Tim Welke
- Second Base Umpire - Todd Tichenor
- Third Base Umpire - Gabe Morales