Baseball

Avila rallies Tigers in ninth

Tigers 4, Indians 2: Alex Avila's three-run homer in the ninth inning off closer Chris Perez rallied visiting Detroit to its ninth straight win on Monday night.

The Tigers were three outs away from having their lead in the AL Central cut to two games before their comeback against Perez (4-2), who had converted 11 consecutive save opportunities.

After Victor Martinez's RBI single made it 2-1, Perez walked Andy Dirks before Avila drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-center for his ninth homer, stunning a Cleveland crowd ready to celebrate the team's biggest win this season.

Manager Terry Francona had no choice but to relieve the controversial Perez, who sullenly walked to the dugout after not retiring a batter and heard only boos from Indians fans.

Al Alburquerque (2-2) got one in the eighth and Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth for his 13th save.

Braves 3, Nationals 2: Justin Upton led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking homer, and NL East-leading Atlanta extended its winning streak to a season-high 11 games by beating fading host Washington.

Freddie Freeman drove in Atlanta's first two runs with a pair of singles in the third and fifth. Reliever David Carpenter (3-0) earned the win by retiring all five batters he faced.

Dodgers 3, Cardinals 2: Zack Greinke pitched into the seventh inning and raised his batting average to .405 with an RBI single, helping Los Angeles win its 15th straight on the road.

Nick Punto was productive subbing for injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez and the Dodgers got an RBI apiece from Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis. They're two wins shy of the NL record set by the 1916 New York Giants.

Greinke (9-3) allowed two runs in 61⁄3 innings for his 100th career victory

Albers to make major-league debut

Former University of Kentucky standout Andrew Albers is scheduled to make his major-league debut Tuesday night when the Twins face the Royals in Kansas City.

The 27-year-old lefty, who replaced Scott Diamond in the starting rotation, was called up on Saturday. He told MLB.com that he was glad his debut didn't come right off the bat.

"I'm glad I've got a couple of days to take in the atmosphere, get (acclimated) to the club and those good things," he said.

Even though this will be Albers' first major-league appearance, the Canadian has pitched against top hitters in the World Baseball Classic.

"You realize that they're human, too, and they can get out as well," Albers said. "That's the big thing — you've got to come up and do what got you here, pound the zone and throw strikes and be aggressive."

Albers went 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 22 starts at Triple-A Rochester this year, and though he doesn't have a blazing fastball, he managed 116 strikeouts in 1321⁄3 innings.

"He put himself on our radar," Twins GM Terry Ryan said. "You can't overlook what he's accomplished down there every time he pitches. He has a knack of being able to produce quality innings. He's got just enough funk, he's got location, he's got deception, he's got the stomach and the heart."

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