Swisher homers in 11th, Indians top Red Sox to split series
Nick Swisher finally has something to savor in a tough season — a game-winning homer.
He had spent 16 days on the disabled list before being activated Thursday. He was batting just .203 when he came to bat in the 11th inning on Sunday.
Then he led off the inning with his fourth homer of the season, giving the Cleveland Indians their second straight 3-2 comeback win over the Boston Red Sox.
"This year’s been kind of crazy for me, personally, just to come up with a hit like that to help this team win a ballgame," Swisher said. "I was so stoked, man. I wanted to smile all the way around the bases."
Cleveland manager Terry Francona was pretty excited by the good view he had from the third base dugout of the homer just inside the right field foul pole.
"At that point it’s not relief," he said, "it’s elation."
The Red Sox wasted an excellent opportunity to win the game in the ninth when they loaded the bases with three walks by John Axford. Then Scott Atchison came in and got Brock Holt to end the threat with a groundout to second.
"He throws strikes," Francona said. "That’s why he’s out there."
The Red Sox left eight runners on base.
"We had opportunities," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We walked the bases loaded in the ninth and (were) a base hit away, or a swing away from ending it right there. It’s been elusive."
Cody Allen (3-1) ended the game with two perfect innings, striking out three.
Junichi Tazawa (1-1) took the loss one day after walking in the winning run.
Swisher had been 1 for 8 in two of the first three games of the series after recovering from a hyperextended right knee and was 0 for 4 Sunday before his homer.
"He obviously has that (home run) capability, but we’re challenging him given his four previous at-bats on the day and maybe some of the inconsistencies he’s had during the season," Farrell said, "and got beat on it."
The win was the Indians’ second straight after four consecutive losses.
Michael Brantley gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the first with his 11th homer. But in the next five innings, Brandon Workman allowed just three hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
Boston tied the game in the first on a single by leadoff hitter Holt, a wild pitch and an RBI single by David Ortiz.
The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the fifth against Corey Kluber after a walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a single by Holt put runners at first and third with one out. Dustin Pedroia then grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the forceout. But Pedroia hustled to beat the throw to first, avoiding a double play and allowing Bradley to score.
Just as they did in Saturday night’s loss, the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead into the seventh and lost it. David Murphy walked and reached third on a single by Carlos Santana with no outs. Workman was replaced by Burke Badenhop, who allowed a tying sacrifice fly by Yan Gomes.
"All we can do is keep going out there and keep getting guys on base and working," Boston’s A.J. Pierzynski said. "Guys hit some balls hard. They made some good plays. There’s nothing you can do."
Cleveland threatened in the 10th when Craig Breslow issued two-out walks to Brantley and Kipnis, but Lonnie Chisenhall grounded into a forceout.
NOTES: Cleveland leadoff hitter Michael Bourn went 0 for 6 Sunday and 1 for 19 in the series. … Red Sox 3B Xander Bogaerts was not in the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms but pinch ran in the ninth . … Stephen Drew started at shortstop for Boston after missing six games with a right side muscle injury. … Workman is expected to learn this week the result of his appeal of a six-game suspension after he threw near the head of Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria on May 30. . … The Red Sox continue their seven-game homestand Monday night against the Minnesota Twins. Rubby De La Rosa (1-2) pitches for Boston against Kevin Correia (3-7). After going 5-5 on their road trip, the Indians return home Monday night to face the Los Angeles Angels. Trevor Bauer (1-3) pitches for Cleveland against Jered Weaver (7-5).