CLEVELAND— Yasiel Puig hit an RBI single off the top of the right field wall with two outs in the 10th inning and the Cleveland Indians kept up their playoff push, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Wednesday night.
The Indians entered the day one-half game behind Tampa Bay for the second AL wild-card spot. Cleveland stayed 2 ½ games behind wild-card leader Oakland.
Cleveland beat the Tigers for the 16th straight time this season, one shy of its franchise record set against Baltimore in 1954. The Indians are 17-1 against the Tigers this year, outscoring them 109-38.
The Tigers, with the worst record in the majors at 45-106, matched their longest losing streak against an opponent. They also dropped 16 in a row to Minnesota in 2002-03.
Puig’s bases-loaded drive off José Cisnero (0-4) came after an intentional walk to Carlos Santana. It was the fourth hit of the game and the fifth career walkoff plate appearance by Puig, who was acquired from Cincinnati in a three-team trade on July 31.
Roberto Pérez reached on an error by shortstop Willi Castro to open the 10th and was replaced by Bradley Zimmer, who advanced on Ryan Flaherty’s sacrifice bunt. A fielder’s choice by Oscar Mercado was bookended by intentional walks to Francisco Lindor and Santana, setting the stage for the enigmatic Puig.
Adam Cimber (6-3) earned the win with a perfect inning for Cleveland, which did not allow a hit after the fourth inning.
Detroit opened the scoring in the third when rookie catcher Jake Rogers led off with a double and came home on Víctor Reyes’ sacrifice fly. Cleveland answered in the bottom half with a single by Santana that scored Flaherty.
Indians right-hander Aaron Civale worked a season-high 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run. The rookie is the fifth pitcher to begin his career with nine games of five-plus innings and two or fewer earned runs — the first since King Cole of the Cubs in 1909-1910.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull struck out eight over five innings, avoiding becoming the second Detroit pitcher to lose six games in a season to a team. Dizzy Trout was beaten by the Yankees six times in 1942.
Turnbull, who leads the majors with 15 losses, is 0-12 in 16 starts since beating Atlanta on May 31.
Indians LHP Brad Hand, who is sidelined with a tired arm, threw two dozen pitches in a bullpen session. The All-Star closer last appeared in a game on Sept. 8 at Minnesota. “It was just nice to see him look like himself,” manager Terry Francona said. . Cleveland DH Franmil Reyes rejoined the team after spending one day away for personal reasons.
Tigers: 1B Jeimer Candelario (right triceps bruise) was not in the lineup for the second straight day, but entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. He was hit on the arm by a pitch from Baltimore RHP Ryan Eades on Monday.
Indians: 3B José Ramírez (right hand surgery) is hitting in the batting cage and fielding groundballs, but Francona is uncertain if he will return this season. The two-time All-Star broke his hamate bone on Aug. 24 against Kansas City.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (3-12, 4.62 ERA) will start the three-game series finale before being relieved by RHP Drew VerHagen. They combined for seven shutout innings, striking out five, in their most recent time-share outing on Sept. 14 at Baltimore.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (11-3, 2.68 ERA) had his 10-game winning streak snapped on Sept. 14 against Minnesota, allowing two runs over a season-high tying eight innings. He is 10-1 with a 2.02 ERA, 118 strikeouts and 23 walks over his last 14 starts.