Asdrubal Cabrera’s walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning off former Indians pitcher Edward Mujica at 2:02 a.m. Thursday morning finally brought an end to a marathon night at Progressive Field.
Cabrera’s third career walk-off homer gave the Indians a 7-4 victory and completed a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the Tribe’s third consecutive home series sweep, improving the surging Tribe to 30-30 to reach the .500 mark for the first time since they were 11-11 in April.
Coupled with the Tigers 6-2 loss Wednesday night, the Indians pulled to within 3 1/2 games of first place in the American League Central Division.
The game Wednesday evening started after a two-hour and 28-minute rain delay at 9:33 p.m. Nearly 4 1/2 hours later, the Indians rally began when Mike Aviles legged out a one-out infield single in the bottom of the 12th inning. Michael Bourn followed with a base hit that sent Aviles to third to set the table for Cabrera, who delivered the team’s fifth walk-off win of the season.
Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco (1-3, 4.97 ERA) picked up the win with two hitless innings of relief that included four strikeouts.
The Indians opened the scoring in the first inning by taking advantage of a misplayed blooper off the bat of Cabrera. Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. converged on the ball, but their miscommunication allowed it to fall in between them. Cabrera stole second and scored on a Michael Brantley hit up the middle to give the Tribe an early 1-0 advantage.
With early signs that Tribe starter Corey Kluber wasn’t as sharp as he was throughout the month of May, his defense gave him a big hand in escaping the fifth inning with outstanding plays by left fielder Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. Brantley robbed Jackie Bradley Jr. of an extra base hit with a leaping catch at the wall for the second out. Kipnis followed with a nifty leap and spin move throw on a grounder up the middle that robbed Brock Holt of a hit to end inning.
But the Tribe defense couldn’t help Kluber in the sixth. He hit Xander Bogaerts with a pitch to put the Red Sox leadoff man on. Then, with two outs, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit a towering, 422-foot two-run homer on a fastball left in the middle of the plate, giving Boston a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Indians sent Red Sox starter Brandon Workman to the showers with a three-run inning featuring a leadoff walk followed by four consecutive singles — all coming with no outs. Kipnis drove in the first run with a base hit off left-handed reliever Chris Capuano. Two batters later with the bases loaded, David Murphy drove in a pair of runs to hand the Tribe a 4-2 advantage.
But Boston’s offense got right to work chipping away at Kluber in the seventh inning, with Holt’s two-run double tieing the score once again at 4-4. The big blow ended Kluber’s outing with four runs on five hits and two walks – a line that also included the homer, two hit batters and a wild pitch.
Both teams’ bullpens kept the game scoreless over the next two innings to send the action in extra innings.