BOSTON (AP) – With the game on the line, Christian Vazquez launched a long drive that even Austin Jackson couldn’t reach.
Vazquez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox pulled off the final rally of a wild game Tuesday night, beating the Indians 12-10 despite an astonishing catch by Jackson.
“Some odd things took place offensively,” Boston manager John Farrell said, marveling at the outcome and the many twists and turns that preceded it as the Red Sox moved back into first place in the AL East.
The teams combined for 28 hits and six home runs, but Jackson made a defensive play that stood above all the offense when he robbed Hanley Ramirez of a leadoff homer in the fifth with a leaping grab in the right-center triangle at Fenway Park.
The center fielder reached way above the wall and tumbled head over heels into the Red Sox bullpen, disappearing from view momentarily before popping up and showing the ball was in his glove – to the amazement of players on both sides.
A replay review confirmed Jackson held on for the catch, and the sensational play earned him a standing ovation from rival Red Sox fans.
“That was one of the best catches I think I’ve ever seen,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “I’ve been in the game a long time. That’s a hard wall out there and a lot of guys run away from it. Austin went up and over.”
Vazquez also went up and over, ending the game with a shot to center that Jackson could only turn around and watch leave the park as Vazquez rounded the bases and the Red Sox celebrated an unlikely victory. Mitch Moreland had just struck out swinging for what should have been the final out, but the pitch from Cleveland closer Cody Allen (0-6) was wild and Moreland reached first safely to extend the inning.
Allen then fell behind 3-1 in the count and Vazquez pounced on the next pitch.
“I was going to try to throw my best fastball and hopefully get an out,” Allen said. “He hit that ball a long way.”
Vazquez wasn’t the only one. Cleveland tied it on Francisco Lindor’s leadoff homer in the top of the ninth and took a 10-9 lead on Craig Kimbrel’s bases-loaded wild pitch with Jackson at the plate. But the Indians, who led 5-0 after two innings, blew the lead for the third and final time in the bottom of the ninth.
Moreland hit a three-run homer in the second and Eduardo Nunez had three hits and four RBIs for the Red Sox, including a bases-loaded double in the sixth as Boston scored four times to take its first lead.
“I don’t know if you can separate the ninth from any other part of this game. We haven’t had a game like this for a long time,” Farrell said.
The comeback lifted Boston a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees, who lost 4-3 to Detroit.
Kimbrel (3-0) blew a save for the fourth time this season, but ended up with the win when Vazquez hit his second homer of the year.
Disappointed as Boston fans were to learn Jackson had taken a homer away from Ramirez, the Fenway Park crowd gave Jackson quite an ovation.
“That was awesome. I was just so pumped up it was like I didn’t even hear them,” Jackson said. “I was just pumped up for us and glad that I was able to hold onto it. Especially going over like that, I could’ve easily dropped it.”
The game began with two of the top pitchers in the AL squaring off, but neither figured in the decision.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco didn’t make it out of the second inning despite being given a quick 5-0 cushion by his teammates. Boston ace Chris Sale steadied himself after a rocky start and pitched five innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits.
“You talk about a roller-coaster game. When you jump up 5-0 on Sale, that’s doing something,” Francona said. “Then they came storming back. From there it was just back and forth.”
Brandon Guyer, Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana also homered for Cleveland in a rematch of last year’s AL playoff series won by the Indians.
“The big thing that really got me tonight was not keeping the ball in the ballpark,” Sale said.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis (right hamstring) started a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron. … Cleveland activated RHP Joe Smith, acquired in a trade with Toronto on Monday.
Red Sox: Placed 2B Dustin Pedroia on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Saturday, with inflammation in his left knee. Pedroia missed the last three games before the Red Sox made the roster move Tuesday.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA) received an extra day of rest after holding the Angels to one earned run and seven hits over eight innings last Thursday.
Red Sox: Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (4-14, 4.55) tries to end a four-game losing streak.
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