Sunday’s Indians-Tigers game certainly had all the drama of a September battle for the playoffs. Finally, after a long 0-0 battle leading into the ninth inning, third baseman Mike Aviles broke it open with a grand slam.
The scoreless slam that late in the game was a bit historic, per the great stats minds of Elias Sports Bureau. Here’s what they distributed after the contest:
“Mike Aviles on Sunday became only the fifth player in major-league history to hit a ninth-inning grand slam that gave his team a 4-0 win. The other players who broke a 0-0 tie with a ninth-inning bases-loaded homer that accounted for all the scoring in a game were Dwight Smith (1995 Braves), Dave Hansen (1993 Dodgers) Tim Raines (1983 Expos) and Barry Bonnell (1980 Blue Jays).”
While the blast was the 48th home run of Aviles’ MLB career, it was his first slam. Overall this season, it was the fourth grand slam for the Cleveland Indians. Oddly enough, they’ve been hit by a strange collection of players: Michael Bourn (July 24), Lonnie Chisenhall (July 13), Mark Reynolds (April 13) and Aviles.
The four by Cleveland are the franchise’s most since 2010 (seven). The mark also ranks tied for third-best in baseball, behind only Seattle (six) and Detroit (five). It was only the second ninth inning grand slam of the season, along with the blast by Miami’s Jeff Mathis on June 30, which also took place in a tied game.
The homer was substantial as the Indians playoff odds jumped from 9.7% to 14.6% with the win. They now return home to face the Baltimore Orioles in a crucial series for wild card positioning. Cleveland finished the season 4-15 against the Tigers, which are their most losses against a single opponent since 15 against the Washington Senators in 1969.