CLEVELAND -- With his team potentially on the brink of a crushing loss, Michael Brantley came up big. Brantley's second home run of the game, a two-run shot, keyed a three-run rally in the eighth inning as the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 9-6 on Sunday.
"He threw me a fastball in a fastball count," Brantley said. "I made sure I put a good swing on it, and I was lucky enough that it went out."
Brantley's blast off Al Alburquerque bailed out a Cleveland bullpen that blew a 6-1 lead in the seventh and eighth innings.
"That would have been a tough one to go home with an 'L'," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The win snapped the Indians' four-game losing streak and the loss halted the five-game winning streak of the Tigers, whose American League Central lead over second-place Cleveland shrinks to 2 1/2 games.
With the score tied 6-6, Cleveland's Nick Swisher drew a leadoff walk from Alburquerque in the bottom of the eighth. Brantley then worked the count to 3-1 and belted the next pitch into the seats in right field for his seventh home run of the season, giving the Indians an 8-6 lead. A sacrifice fly by Drew Stubbs later in the inning stretched the lead to 9-6.
The win went to Cleveland reliever Cody Allen (4-1). Alburquerque (1-2) took the loss. Chris Perez pitched the ninth inning for his ninth save.
"I'm extremely proud of the way we hung in there and didn't give in," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "We battled. They battled, and they won the battle."
Brantley was 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and five RBIs. He has been the Indians' best clutch hitter this season. He is batting a team-leading .367 with runners in scoring position.
"I think he likes to hit with runners on base. He doesn't overswing, and he has such a pretty swing," Francona said.
Trailing 6-1, the Tigers scored two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to tie it. All three runs in the eighth came on a home run by Torii Hunter off Vinnie Pestano.
Detroit's two-run seventh featured RBI singles by Hunter and Miguel Cabrera, who was 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
"We did a great job coming back. They stayed hot and kept swinging the bat. It was a great game," Tigers DH/first baseman Victor Martinez said.
Cabrera staked Detroit to a 1-0 lead with a home run in the first inning, but the Indians answered with a two-out, four-run rally in the bottom of the first.
After retiring the first two hitters of the inning, Tigers starter Doug Fister walked the next two batters, Jason Kipnis and Swisher. Brantley then bounced a two-run double off the left field wall, giving Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
Carlos Santana followed Brantley's double with a home run into the seats in right field, his 11th homer of the year, extending the lead to 4-1.
"We had two outs and nobody on in that inning, but we did a good job of extending the inning and wound up getting four runs," Francona said.
The Indians made it 5-1 when Lonnie Chisenhall led off the bottom of the second by hitting a towering home run down the right field line, his fifth homer of the year. Cleveland hit four home runs in the game.
"It's pretty tough to win when you give up four home runs," Leyland said.
After Cabrera's first-inning home run, Cleveland starter Corey Kluber was outstanding, holding Detroit to two runs and five hits while striking out a career-high 10 in 6 1/3 innings.
"He did a great job today. He threw the ball great. You have to give credit when he deserves credit," Martinez said.
NOTES: Before Sunday's game, the Indians optioned pitcher Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus and called up right-handed reliever Preston Guilmet from Columbus. ... Indians INF Mark Reynolds, serving as the DH was 0-for-3 and is now hitless in his last 23 at bats. ... Cabrera's home run in the first inning was his 31st homer in 405 career at-bats against the Indians. ... Cabrera and Prince Fielder executed a double steal in the sixth inning. It was Fielder's first stolen base of the season. He has one stolen base in each of the last four seasons.