On a day of suspension and a night of suspense a lead that could have been two games suddenly became four.

Going into the ninth inning without a run on Monday night the Tigers erupted for four off closer Chris Perez including three on Alex Avila’s home run to beat the Indians 4-2 at Progressive Field.

Instead of two games in front of the second-place Indians the margin the Tigers were staring at if they had lost they stretched it to four games with their ninth consecutive victory.

“This is No. 1 of the nine” Torii Hunter said. “That’s a good Cleveland team over there. But instead of us saying ‘Let’s get them tomorrow’ after eight innings of not scoring we kept battling.”

“This team has a lot of heart. I like it.”

The victory changed the entire atmosphere of the day: A comeback replacing the emptiness of losing shortstop Jhonny Peralta for 50 games.

“It feels good” Hunter said. “To keep our focus and be professional about it it feels real good.”

Prince Fielder began the ninth inning with a double he dropped inside the left-field line. On an 0-2 pitch Victor Martinez singled in him for the Tigers’ first run.

After a walk to Andy Dirks Avila connected — silencing the crowd in the process.

“When Paul Konerko did that to us yesterday (hit a home run in the ninth)” said Avila “you could hear a pin drop in our stadium.

“But to be honest with you it was so loud in our dugout after I got back there I didn’t notice.”

Hunter was one of the noisemakers probably.

“When Prince got that double our confidence went up” the Tigers’ right fielder said. “Then it went up a little more.

“That’s momentum.”