Carlos Santana launched a towering home run leading off the ninth inning against White Sox reliever Nate Jones on Friday night, powering the Indians to a 3-2 walk-off victory at Progressive Field. The blast came after Cleveland and Chicago traded late blows.
The win helped the Tribe maintain a half-game lead over the Royals in the American League Central, and came after closer Cody Allen blew a save opportunity in the top of the ninth.
"When you're playing at home," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "even though it's a kick in the stomach for a minute, you're still hitting last. You see what happens. You make a mistake on the road and you can lose. Fortunately, they did, because they had Santana down, 0-2. Man, he took a nice swing. That kid's has got a really good arm."
"I shook to that pitch. So the game was 100 percent on me. I just didn't execute that pitch," said Jones who shook to a third straight slider against Santana. "He did what he was supposed to do with it when you leave it over the middle."
In the home half of the eighth, Tribe utility man Michael Martinez led off with an opposite-field single and Jason Kipnis brought him home with a double that split the right-center gap. That gave Cleveland a short-lived 2-1 lead, as closer Cody Allen could not keep Chicago in check in the ninth.
The rally by the White Sox in the ninth allowed lefty Jose Quintana to escape with a no-decision after a solid effort. Over 7 2/3 innings, Quintana allowed two runs on seven hits and finished with six strikeouts and one walk.
Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer also took a no-decision after spinning seven strong innings. Bauer was charged with one run on four hits, ending with nine strikeouts and three walks. The lone hiccup came in the third, when Adam Eaton was given a triple on a misplay in right field and later scored on a groundout by Jose Abreu.
"I thought Trevor was good," Francona said. "He was really effective. His stuff wasn't dropping off. Really good changeup. His pitches were moving. I thought he pitched really well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stealing a run: After leading off the first inning with a single, Rajai Davis swiped second base, marking the first steal against Quintana this season and putting the Tribe outfielder into a tie for the most (18) in the American League. Two batters later, Davis scored on a single up the middle by Francisco Lindor. Quintana then held the Tribe to a 3-for-22 showing leading up to the eighth.
"It's been impressive," Francona said of Davis' steals. "Rajai's stolen bases seem like a lot of them have come when they're trying to defend it. And he still has the ability to go. It's been something that we had hoped for when we signed him, but it may be better than we expected, just because of the timing of them. They're trying to defend it and he's still going."
Tripped-up triple: With one out in the third, Eaton sent a low line drive to right field. Lonnie Chisenhall charged in on the ball, but slipped and watched it skip behind him to deep right. Eaton sprinted around the bases for a triple, then crossed the plate on a 6-3 groundout by Abreu, tying the game at 1.
"He just slipped. He came hard," Francona said. "We've spent some time … talking to our guys about maybe being a little more aggressive in the outfield. And he came hard, which was good, and then he just put his foot down and slipped. It happens. It's tough, because it cost you a run, but there's nothing you can do about that."
Staying out of trouble: Cleveland put two runners on with two outs in the sixth courtesy of a Martinez single and a walk to Lindor. But Quintana was able to keep the game tied at one when Mike Napoli grounded out to Abreu, who flipped to Quintana to end the inning. Quintana had retired 11 straight moving into the sixth.
"He pitched great," White Sox catcher Alex Avila said. "Made one mistake all game, the Kipnis double, but he was fantastic today." More >
Shaw's escape: Before taking the mound, Indians setup man Bryan Shaw had allowed four runs in his previous three outings. He slipped into a two-out jam in the eighth, when the White Sox worked runners on the corners with the game still tied. Shaw struck out Todd Frazier to end the threat.
"Leadoff hit and then he pitched around it, with a stolen base mixed in there," Francona said. "His stuff has been really good. In fact, like I've said a number of times, better than we've seen in past years."
QUOTABLE "The off-day did us some good and gave us some rest, so we could regroup and have a positive attitude. When we came to the dugout, everybody was like, 'Who wants it? Who's it going to be?' It was a good test for us and it only took one batter. Santana was huge." --Kipnis
"That's the tough one. He knows it. It's not news to him. He has to grind through it, and where he's at hitting the homers, you have to be able to knock in something besides hitting the homer." -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura, on Frazier, who is hitting .202
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Bauer only has one decision (a win) within his past four starts, but the right-hander has turned in a 2.12 ERA in those outings. Over 29 2/3 innings in that span, Bauer has 28 strikeouts, eight walks and a .204 (22-for-108) opponents' batting average.
A LITTLE HELP HERE Quintana has six losses and one no-decision in his past seven starts, giving him a Major League-high 54 no-decisions since 2012. But a big part of his problem stands as lack of support, with the White Sox scoring five total runs in those seven starts and scoring one or no runs in each of those seven.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:James Shields (2-8, 5.45 ERA) makes start No. 3 for the White Sox in a 5:10 p.m. CT tilt Saturday and hopes for better results than his first two. The right-hander has gone 0-2 with a 21.41 ERA over his past three starts.
Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar (7-3, 2.19) will take the mound for the Tribe on Saturday. Through a dozen starts, Salazar is pacing the AL in ERA and ranks seventh in all of baseball. Last time out, Salazar allowed one run on three hits in a win over the Angels.