Baseball is the great American pastime for many reasons, one of them being that no matter how many times you think you’ve seen it all, the game pulls out yet another surprise.
The Detroit Tigers fell behind the Cleveland Indians 7-5 on Wednesday, only to tie the game with two runs in the fifth inning and take the lead with another two in the eighth.
With closer Joe Nathan in the game for the ninth, the Indians guaranteed bonus baseball after David Murphy hit a game-tying two-run homer with Cleveland down to their final two outs.
Neither team scored through the first three extra innings, then Detroit pulled ahead as Alex Avila hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the 13th to give the Tigers a 10-9 lead.
The Indians tied the game again in the bottom of the 13th as Michael Brantley singled in Mike Aviles from second base to make it 10-10.
After Murphy grounded out for the second out of the inning, advancing Asdrubal Cabrera to third and Brantley to second, Al Albuquerque was brought in for Detroit to get the final out and send the game to the 14th. After intentionally walking pinch-hitter Yan Gomes, Albuquerque had a 1-0 count on Ryan Raburn before something occurred that hasn’t been seen in the big leagues since June 2011.
Albuquerque got the sign from catcher Avila, then started to come to his set, but quickly put his arms back down. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons then pointed to Albuquerque and signaled a balk, allowing Cabrera to cross home plate for the game-winning run in the most unlikely fashion.
Check out the video here from MLB.com to see the play for yourself, one that truly happens only once in a Blue Moon.