Walters’ Bomb Gives Tribe Win Late in Chicago; Indians 8, White Sox 6

The Indians seem to be finding a formula for success in the last quarter of the season, whether it’s enough to finish their business will remain to be seen.

Tuesday evening the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox 8-6 in 10 innings when Zach Walters lofted a two-run homer to break the tie. Both T.J. House and Jose Quintana did not survive long in the game, but the Tribe’s bullpen stymied the White Sox until the scrappy Indians offense could muster enough runs to seal the victory. The win moves Cleveland to 67-63 on the season, their high water mark on the 2014 campaign.

The Indians took control of the game right away in the first inning when Michael Bourn hit a ground rule double to left field to start the game. Jose Ramirez bunted him to third base and Michael Brantley was hit-by-pitch before Carlos Santana doubled to left field to plate Bourn and move Brantley to third base. Jason Kipnis grounded out to second base, scoring Brantley and moving Santana to third base before Mike Aviles dumped in a flare to right field to make it 3-0 before the White Sox got to the plate.

Chicago did answer right back against House, however. Alexei Ramirez singled and Jose Abreu doubled to put a pair in scoring position before Avisail Garcia singled to center field to bring them both home, cutting the Tribe’s lead to 3-2. After the first inning House settled down and controlled the White Sox offense.

The Tribe answered right back with another run off Quintana in the second inning. Jose Ramirez doubled just inside the right field line with two outs and scored a hitter later when Brantley bounced a ground rule double to left field. Brantley’s double landed just inside the foul line before caroming into the stands and gave the Indians a 4-2 lead.

House allowed a single to Conor Gillaspie to start the third inning, then did not allow a hit until the fifth. It looked like he was settling in after a rough start, but Chicago made him pay with the long ball. Dayan Viciedo started the inning with a ground rule double to left field. After House set down the next two hitters, Adam Eaton singled to center field to score Viciedo and cut the lead to 4-3. The Tribe’s lead ended a hitter later when Alexei Ramirez crushed a two-run homer to left field. His 13th homer of the season gave Chicago a 5-4 lead after five innings.

Ramirez’s homer also ended House’s evening. House pitched four and two-third innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out four. C.C. Lee retired Abreu to end the inning.

But the see-saw battle continued in the top of the sixth and the Indians chased Quintana from the game, too. Aviles singled and Zach Walters walked to put a pair on and no one out. Quintana exited the game in favor of Matt Lindstrom. Tyler Holt could not get the bunt attempt down and instead struck out before Roberto Perez singled to center field. One run scored on Perez’s single, but another was able to score on center fielder Adam Eaton’s error. Eaton let the single get by him and the Indians retook the lead, 6-5.

Cleveland dodged danger in bottom of the sixth. Lee allowed a double to Garcia and hit Konerko with a pitch to put a pair on, with no one out. Indians manager Terry Francona summoned Marc Rzepczynski from the bullpen and he struck out Gillaspie. Francona went back to the bullpen for Scott Atchison, who induced a ground ball double play to end the inning on his first pitch.

They couldn’t dodge it in the seventh, though. Atchison remained in the game and allowed singles to Tyler Flowers and Carlos Sanchez to start the inning. After Adam Eaton bunted them to scoring position, Alexei Ramirez grounded out to shortstop. Jose Ramirez made a fine play to set down Alexei at first base, but the run scored to tie the game. After Abreu was intentionally walked, Garcia grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The game quietly moved along until the 10th inning when the Indians took their final and decisive lead. Jake Petricka (0-4) took the mound for Chicago and pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall greeted him with a double to deep right field. Zach Walters then crushed a two-run homer 416-feet into the bleachers, giving the Indians a 8-6 lead. Walters’ 9th homer of the season was all the Indians would need.

Bryan Shaw (5-3) stayed on to pitch the bottom of the 10th. Shaw pitched two and one-third innings of relief and kept closer Cody Allen rested. The Indians used six pitchers in the game as Francona remains reliant on his bullpen. The five Tribe relievers only allowed three hits in five and one-third innings.

Offensively, the Indians pounded out 14 hits, including a pair from Bourn, Kipnis, Aviles, Walters and Perez. Every starter, except Holt, had a base hit. Cleveland is 5.5 games back of Kansas City in the division and 4.5 back of the final Wild Card spot. The win was the first game of 30 straight in 30 days for Cleveland.

The two teams will do battle again on Wednesday night. Corey Kluber (13-7, 2.46) will take the mound for the Indians. The Tribe’s ace will try to rebound from his worst start of the second half in his last outing. Kluber allowed three runs over seven innings in a loss to Minnesota. He’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Hector Noesi (7-9, 4.86).

Photo: Paul Beaty/AP Photo

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