Every game counts and the Cleveland Indians, losers of four of their last six after a six-game winning streak, win in walk-off fashion in ten innings, 5-4.
The win, the second straight for the Indians, pulled the club to 66-56 and back to nine and a half games out in the AL Central. Starting pitcher Scott Elarton allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings, giving up two of the three hits in the fourth inning when Miguel Tejada plated the game’s first run on a single to left. A home run from Aaron Boone off of Erik Bedard tied the game at one in the bottom of the fifth.
Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt took over for Elarton and things looked glib in the eighth as a single, sacrifice, and a single gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. A stolen base and intentional walk ended Betancourt’s night and Bob Howry retired the first man he faced for the second out. But a double steal put both runners in scoring position and Melvin Mora tripled both in to make it 4-1.
Not to be outdone, the Indians got back-to-back singles from Jose Hernandez and Boone to start the eighth and, with reliever Todd Williams replacing Bedard on the mound, Casey Blake drove them all home with a homer to the bleachers on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game.
Both clubs stranded runners in scoring position in the ninth. A quick tenth from Indians reliever Fernando Cabrera paved the way for a lefty-lefty matchup between former Indians reliever Steve Kline and first baseman Ben Broussard, who entered the game in the top of the ninth. On a 1-1 pitch, Broussard sent the Tribe home a winner with a walk-off blast to right-center.