Extra Inning Homer Saves Mid-Game Meltdown; Indians 11, Rangers 8

Wild pitches, errors, and lack of hustle drove the Tribe into extra innings Friday night during their series opener against the Rangers. Both sides played sloppy ball, with the Indians blowing a 7-1 lead late in the game, staying tied at 8-8 into the eleventh. They eventually rallied to win, 11-8, with a walk-off home run from Ryan Raburn.

In his last five starts at home, Corey Kluber was 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA. Kluber started against Texas pitcher Martin Perez, who struggled and lasted only three innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits, including one homer, walking two batters and striking out three.

Following a 1-2-3 first inning for the Rangers, Nick Swisher delivered a long home run to the bleachers. His 11th home run of the season was also the second he has hit since moving to second in the lineup in Tuesday’s game, a change Terry Francona allegedly made to benefit the slumping Swisher.

Asdrubal Cabrera, still batting cleanup, went 4-11 during the series in Seattle and continued his strong plate appearance upon returning to Cleveland, starting his game by delivering a two-out double to right field. Carlos Santana, batting .308 with RISP on the year, could not capitalize on Cabrera’s hit, getting thrown out at first to end the first inning. The Indians led the game 1-0 at the bottom of the first.

Michael Brantley got on base in the second on a close play, barely beating out a throw from first baseman Mitch Moreland to Perez. With one on and one out, Mike Aviles delivered a base hit to center field on a change up pitch. Back-to-back wild pitches to Drew Stubbs allowed Brantley and Aviles to advance, putting runners on second and third and subsequently scoring Brantley and bringing Aviles to third. Stubbs, hitting .292 against left-handed pitchers, walked to put runners at the corners as the Indians moved back to the top of their lineup in the bottom of the second. Although Michael Bourn was thrown out at first with one out in the inning, Aviles scored to bring the lead to 3-0 Indians and advanced Stubbs to second. Swisher returned to the plate and struck out to end the inning, with the Indians still ahead heading into the third.

Kluber, who threw 79% strikes in the first two innings, walked Moreland to start the third inning. He then faced Elvis Andrus else, who hit straight to Kluber. Continuing the trend of errors on routine plays, Kluber missed a throw to Cabrera to put runner at the corner. Moreland scored on a high fly ball to Brantley, who then made the throw to Santana at the plate. Santana, however, could not hang not to the ball to tag Moreland, allowing the Rangers to get on the board with a score of 3-1. Andres advanced to third, but did not score. The Indians were retired in order in the bottom of the third, their first inning with no base runners in the game.

The first hit of the night for the Rangers came in the fourth inning with a one-out single by Adrian Beltre. The Rangers stranded two on base to end the fourth and keep the score at 3-1 Indians. Ryan Raburn singled to start the fourth for the Tribe, followed by a walk issued to Brantley to put runners on first and second with no outs. A base hit from Aviles loaded the bases to bring Stubbs to the plate. Stubbs delivered a hard hit to right field, which scored both Raburn and Brantley to bring the Tribe lead to 5-1. Bourn came to the plate with runners at second and third and still no outs in the inning. He delivered a single to score Aviles and Stubbs and raise lead to 7-1 Indians. Perez left the game following Bourn’s hit, bringing in Ross Wolf. Although Jason Kipnis made it third on throwing errors and wild pitches, he was stranded as Cabrera struck out to end the inning.

The Rangers increased their score to two in the fifth, when Leonys Martin scored on a single from Ian Kinsler. A double play to end the ending kept the Rangers from doing any more damage in the inning, allowing the Tribe to keep their lead headed into the bottom of the fifth.

Santana walked to start off the bottom of the inning, followed by a double play hit into by Raburn. Brantley and Aviles both singled to put runners at first and second for Stubbs, who hit a long ball to left field that was caught at the wall by Engel Beltre.

The Rangers responded to the Tribe lead in the sixth with a solo home run from Nelson Cruz to raise the score to 7-3 Tribe. Beltre singled to follow, with a hit from Pierczynski sending Beltre to third. Jeff Baker came to the plate with no outs and runners at the corners, hitting into a double play. Although Beltre scored to make it 7-4 Indians, Kluber struck out Moreland to end the inning before the score could be made any closer.

Back-to-back base hits from Swisher and Kipnis in the sixth gave the Indians two base runners for Cabrera with one out in the inning. Cabrera delivered a single that flew past Wolf into center field, allowing Cabrera to advance to second on the error and scoring Swisher and bringing Kipnis to third. The score remained 8-4 headed into the seventh.

Cody Allen came in for Kluber in the seventh inning. In six innings, Kluber gave up seven hits, four runs, three of which were earned, walked one batter, threw three strikeouts and gave up one home run.

Allen gave up two singles to start his appearance, with Andrus and Martin appearing on base in the top of the seventh. Both Andrus and Martin stole to advance with Kinsler at bat. Kinsler sent a sac fly to center field that scored Andrus to add another run the Rangers’ score. Martin scored on a hit to left field from Beltre, with Brantley throwing Beltre out at second. After allowing another base hit, Allen left the game to be replied by Rich Hill. Both scoring and leaving two, the Rangers left the seventh inning trailing 8-6 Indians. Robbie Ross came in for the Rangers in the seventh, and allowed a single from Brantley to start the inning. He retired the next three batters, including striking out Aviles, who had gone 3-3 in his previous at-bats.

Joe Smith appeared in the eighth inning, allowing a single from David Murphy. Andrus was hit by a pitch, putting him on base. Martin hit a sacrifice bunt that advanced Murphy and Andrus, who both scored on a single from Kinsler, tying the game at 8 with two outs.

Kipnis hit a one-out double in the eighth inning, diving into second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with Cabrera at the plate. Joakim Soria replaced Ross, striking Cabrera out and subsequently walking Santana with two outs. Raburn grounded into a force out at third, leaving the game tied headed into the ninth. Chris Perez flew threw the ninth inning, with the Rangers side being retired in order.

Jason Frasor came on to pitch for Texas in the bottom of the ninth, facing the bottom half of the Tribe order. The Indians were retired in order, sending the game to extra innings. The tenth inning marked the first time Perez went more than one inning since April 2011. He lasted until the eleventh, when Bryan Shaw came in for the Indians. Martin led off the inning with a bunt ground ball single, and advanced all the way to third on a drop third strike. He did not score, as Cruz popped to to Cabrera to end the top of the inning.

Cabrera and Santana singled in the bottom of the eleventh, bringing Raburn to the plate. With no outs, Raburn blasted a homer to left field, driving in three runs and giving the Tribe a walk-off win of 11-8 over the Rangers.

Shaw was named the winning pitcher, now with a 1-2 record and 4.03 ERA. Fasor was the losing pitcher for Texas and is now 0-2 with a 3.26 ERA.

The Tribe will continue their series with Texas tomorrow night at 7:05 at Progressive Field. The game will feature a matchup between Justin Masterson (11-7, 3.60) and Yu Darvish (9-4, 2.86), recently coming off the disabled list and pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in his first post-DL start. The only start Darvish lost last season was to the Indians.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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