Greg Allen‘s first home run of the year caps an improbable 10-9 comeback victory for the Cleveland Indians over the Houston Astros in 14 innings from Progressive Field.
The Indians led the game 3-2 until the top of the eighth, when the Astros tagged Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen for six runs as Cleveland fell behind, 8-3.
After a scoreless eighth of their own, the Indians were down to their final three outs against closer Ken Giles. Jose Ramirez may have changed the entire afternoon with his at bat to lead off the inning, as he fouled off 12 pitches during an insane 17-pitch battle with the Houston right-hander, working the count full on pitch nine before seven straight foul balls. He was finally able to put one in play, sending a laser beam high off of the wall in right for a leadoff double.
The at bat may have worn down Giles, who gave up back-to-back singles to Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso, with the latter scoring Ramirez to make it an 8-4 game. Bench coach Joe Espada (at the helm for ejected manager AJ Hinch) turned to another member of the best bullpen in the league, calling on Will Harris to wrap up the contest. He struck out Rajai Davis for the first out, but Jason Kipnis pulled a curveball into right field to score Encarnacion, making it an 8-5 game while bringing the tying run to the plate in Roberto Perez. Tribe skipper Terry Francona turned to his bench, bringing on Erik Gonzalez, who has hit well in the clutch throughout the season. He delivered with a single to left field to score Alonso while suddenly making it an 8-6 contest. Espada came back to the mound, calling on right-hander and former Indians pitching prospect Hector Rondon, who got Allen to line to left for the second out. Down to his final strike, Francisco Lindor fouled off a couple of pitches before slapping a single the opposite way to left, scoring Kipnis from second to cut the Astros lead to one. Michael Brantley fell in his own 0-2 hole looking at a pair of called strikes, but then went the opposite way with a single, scoring the hustling Gonzalez from second to tie the game at 8-8. Ramirez, the tenth man to bat, nearly won it with a 102+ MPH screamer towards first, but a diving catch robbed him of a game-winner.
Evan Gattis put the Astros back on top in the top of the 13th with his second homer of the game, taking Dan Otero deep, but the Indians countered with a blast of their own in the bottom half as Alonso took Collin McHugh yard to tie the game at nine.
Otero dodged another bullet in the top of the 14th before Allen played the hero. Righty Brad Peacock entered for his first work of the afternoon, but his first pitch to the switch-hitting Allen was yanked into the seats in right field for the walk-off winner.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
2008 – The Indians pull off the rare “triple steal” in an 8-2 win by Cleveland over the Chicago White Sox. Up 5-2 in the sixth inning with the bases loaded after a pair of doubles, a hit by pitch, a sacrifice, a strikeout, an intentional walk, and an error to open the inning. Reliever Ehren Wassermann attempted to pick Jamey Carroll off of first base and Carroll got into a run down. Alertly, pinch-runner David Dellucci broke for home and beat Paul Konerko’s throw to the plate, allowing Grady Sizemore to advance to third and Carroll to safely advance to second.
It was the first time the triple steal was completed in the Major Leagues in 21 years.