Late-Inning Comeback and Walkoff Gives Tribe Seventh Straight; Indians 6, White Sox 5

Most scripts get stale when their repeated, but this one seems to be gaining steam.

The Indians used two runs in the ninth inning to tie the game and a Carlos Santana home run in the tenth inning for another last at bat, 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox. The walkoff home run by Santana is the second in the last three games for the Indians and catapults their winning streak to seven games.

The late inning heroics would not have been possible without a fine pitching performance by Corey Kluber. He outpitched the White Sox Jose Quintana, and with a little different sixth inning, the Indians would not have needed any late-inning drama.

The Tribe jumped on top right away in the bottom of the first inning. Michael Bourn doubled to center field and Nick Swisher singled to set the table. Jason Kipnis grounded out to second base, scoring Bourn and moving Swisher to third base. The ground out by Kipnis gave the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Cleveland stranded Swisher on third base, with less than two outs, when Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out and Carlos Santana struck out.

In the fourth inning the Indians added another run when Mike Aviles singled with one out and was able to hustle all the way around and score when Michael Brantley doubled into the right center field gap. Brantley’s split the gap and gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.

They added another off Quintana in the bottom of the fifth inning when back-to-back walks by Swisher and Kipnis put two on, with just one out. Cabrera bounced to the pitcher, forcing Kipnis out at second. Santana followed with a double down the left field line that scored Swisher easily, making it 3-0. Cabrera was held up at third base and did not score when Mike Aviles popped out to second base.

That would be all for Quintana, who lasted just five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out six. Despite just two walks, Quintana struggled with control and ran his pitch count up to 109 in just five frames.

Meanwhile, for five innings, Kluber was quite the contrast and motored through the White Sox lineup with ease. Through five innings Kluber allowed just three hits and faced just two over the minimum.

But in the top of the sixth the White Sox tied the game with a string of base hits. Josh Phegley singled to start the inning and advanced to second base when Alejandro De Aza grounded out to first base. Alexei Ramirez doubled to left field, bringing Phegley around to score and put the White Sox on the board. Alex Rios singled to center, plating Ramirez and Adam Dunn beat the shift with a single to center field that let Rios run home and tie the game. Kluber rebounded to get Paul Konerko to line out and Conor Gillaspie ground out and end the inning, but the damage was done.

Kluber returned to his form from the first five innings in the seventh, retiring the White Sox on just eight pitches.

Meanwhile, the White Sox bullpen matched Kluber pitch-for-pitch in the later innings. Holding the tie in their hands, Nate Jones pitched a strong sixth inning and left-hander David Purcey pitched the seventh and eighth innings. Neither allowed a hit.

Kluber continued to carve up White Sox hitters. Other than the sixth inning, he was in complete control of the game, pitching into the ninth. When Gillaspie slapped a single to left with two outs, Indians manager Terry Francona made the move to the bullpen for Cody Allen. Kluber pitched too well for a no-decision, pitching eight and two-third innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out six on just 95 pitches. Kluber did not walk a hitter all evening.

Allen entered the game, needing just one out, and promptly gave up a single to Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo was replaced by pinch-runner Jordan Danks. Gordon Beckham walked to load the bases before Jeff Keppinger singled to center field, just over the outstretched glove of Kipnis, to score Gillaspie and Danks and give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.

Allen had to groove three straight pitches after falling behind 3-0 in the count. The third of the three fastballs down the middle was lined to center field by Keppinger.

But after coughing up the lead, the Indians did it the hard way, tying the game back up against White Sox closer, Addison Reed. Michael Brantley started the inning with a double down the right field line. Jason Giambi pinch-hit for Mark Reynolds and was hit by the pitch. Giambi was replaced by pinch-runner Lonnie Chisenhall. Drew Stubbs was at the plate looking to bunt the runners into scoring position, but he beat the throw at first and instead loaded the bases.

Bourn hit a deep fly ball to center field that allowed Brantley to score and every runner to move up a base, cutting the score to 5-4. After Swisher was intentionally walked to keep the double play in order for Chicago, Kipnis flew out to the warning track in right field and Chisenhall trotted home to tie the game at five.

Cabrera struck out swinging and couldn’t get the game-winning base hit, instead the game headed to extra innings.

Dylan Axelrod came on to pitch the 10th inning for the White Sox, but he’d only throw six pitches to Santana. The final one was Santana’s 12th home run of the season, landing in the right field seats and giving the Indians their third straight win in the late innings and second on a walkoff homer against Chicago. It’s the Indians fifth walkoff win at Progressive Field this season.

Axelrod (3-7) took the loss for the White Sox, while Chris Perez (4-1) earned the win for Cleveland after pitching a three-up, three-down tenth inning. The win is the Indians seventh in a row and moves them a half game ahead of Baltimore and in to the second wild card spot.

Cleveland will try to sweep the White Sox when they conclude the series tomorrow afternoon. It will be a matchup of aces when Justin Masterson (12-7, 3.42) takes on left-hander Chris Sale (6-10, 2.69).

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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