The Indians and White Sox took turns countering each other run-for-run early in the Tribe’s 7-4 victory Friday, with the visitors taking a 4-3 lead after four and a half innings. But just when it looked like the Indians wouldn’t answer for the first time in the bottom of the fourth when Asdrubal Cabrera was called out at second base for the third out of the inning on a stolen base attempt, the Tribe got a break.
And that’s all they needed to pull back to .500, improving their record to 46-46.
Tribe manager Terry Francona challenged the Cabrera play as replays showed the ball beat Cabrera to the bag, but shortstop Alexei Ramirez missed the tag on a sliding Cabrera. When the call was reversed after a short delay, the Indians took advantage of the new life. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a RBI single to score Cabrera and Nick Swisher smashed a two-run home run to put the Indians up by two runs - and they never looked back.
“I felt like I should have taken some powder and threw it up in the air,” Swisher said, in reference to the day’s earlier news that LeBron James announced his return to the Cavs.
“Cabby, right out of the gate, felt like it needed to be challenged," Swisher said. "I think that’s what great (about the replay system). Calls like that kinda really turn a game around. Rather than just assuming the call’s right, they’re making sure they’re absolutely right."
A Carlos Santana run-scoring double tacked on an insurance run in the seventh and the Tribe bullpen did the rest with John Axford, Bryan Shaw and closer Cody Allen shutting out the White Sox out the rest of the way. Allen’s save marked his 10th consecutive in as many save opportunities.
Although starting pitcher Corey Kluber didn’t have his usual steady command, he limited the damage to four runs on eight hits. But he gave up a home run and hit a batter in his last start before the All-Star break.
“I just kinda think that’s how things are going right now," Swisher said of the offense lending Kluber a hand on an off night. "We’re all really picking each other up and regardless of what happens on the field – an error, somebody doesn’t have their good stuff – we’re gonna pick each other up.
"I think that’s one thing we did such a great job of last year was doing that. Playing as a cohesive unit where everybody’s carrying their weight. We’ve got dangerous guys in the lineup one through nine right now. It’s so much fun, man. You can always have that debate does winning cause fun or does fun cause winning? But either way, we got both of them done.”