Carlos Santana leads Indians past Tigers with walk-off grand slam

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It’s no stretch to say that the Indians are the biggest surprise in baseball so far this season. However, one of the more remarkable parts about their hot start is that they’ve been winning ballgames despite their cleanup hitter Carlos Santana struggling miserably with the bat.

While Santana has shown plenty of patience, his batting average has been sitting right around .200 for over two weeks now. But last night, he picked an opportune time to make his presence known.

Santana hit a walk-off grand slam off Joaquin Benoit with one out in the ninth in a thrilling 9-5 win over the Tigers.

The 25-year-backstop worked himself into a favorable 3-1 count, as he often does, and as he told Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he was looking dead red.

“I looked for a fastball, and he threw it,” Santana said. “I made good contact.”

The Indians have now won 11 consecutive home games while their 17-8 record in the best in the American League. They have set a new club record for wins in the month of April. This is all very exciting to watch for a team that many dismissed before the season even started, but it will be interesting to see if they can keep the magic going in May.

Video: Corey Dickerson breaks scoreless tie with walk-off home run

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Neither the Pirates nor the Tigers could manage any offense during Thursday afternoon’s game at PNC Park. That is, until outfielder Corey Dickerson launched a walk-off solo home run off of Alex Wilson with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Dickerson, 28, has been solid for the Pirates for the first month of the season. He’s batting .314/.348/.500 with a pair of home runs, 13 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 92 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired him from the Rays in late February in exchange for journeyman pitcher Daniel Hudson and Single-A infielder Tristan Gray.