Oscar Mercado was awarded home plate on a fielder’s obstruction call for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians rallied past the Boston Red Sox 7-5 Sunday.
The Indians trailed 4-0 and didn’t have a hit against Boston rookie Tanner Houck until José Ramirez homered with one out in the sixth.
Cleveland was still down 5-4 in the eighth when Austin Hedges hit a tying homer off Austin Davis (0-2).
Mercado then singled and Yu Chang followed with a double down the left field line. Mercado appeared to be thrown out at home, but plate umpire Nic Lentz immediately ruled that Boston second baseman Yairo Munoz had impeded Mercado’s progress on the basepaths.
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Munoz was moving toward the left side of the infield as the play developed and Mercado bumped into him after rounding second base. Mercado also had a narrow brush getting past Davis, who had gone over to cover third.
“I kind of pushed the second baseman out of the way because all that was on my mind was to score,” Mercado said. “There were actually two interferences on the play because I got hit at third, too, so I knew right away what the call was.”
Myles Straw subsequently singled in Chang for an insurance run.
Boston continues to hold the second AL wild-card spot, but fell eight games behind East-leading Tampa Bay. The teams begin a four-game series Monday at Tropicana Field.
Rafael Devers hit two solo home runs for the Red Sox, going deep off Eli Morgan in the first and Blake Parker in the seventh. It was his third two-homer game of the season and the ninth of his career.
“Austin tried to quick pitch Hedges, but he threw the ball into his honey hole and everything unraveled,” Boston manager Alex Cora said, shaking his head. “We had two outs and two strikes.”
Bryan Shaw (6-6) worked the eighth and Emmanuel Clase pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save, preventing Boston from its first three-game sweep in Cleveland since 2013.
Houck was in charge until Ramirez homered. The right-hander hit the next two batters with pitches, ending his day with three plunkings, and was charged with three runs and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
“You’ve got to take the good away, along with the bad, from this game,” Houck said. “I didn’t have the best command in the world, but it’s a matter of learning from it.”
Bobby Dalbec hit a solo homer, J.D. Martinez had an RBI double and Jarren Duran walked with the bases loaded for Boston.
Cleveland pulled within 4-3 on Wilson Ramos’ two-run double in the sixth, but the veteran catcher exited in the seventh when his left knee buckled on a throw to second. Ramos was unable to put any weight on the leg.
After Devers’ second homer, Ramirez doubled home Amed Rosario in the seventh to cut Boston’s advantage to 5-4.
“At this level, you play until the 27th out or however long it takes,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said.
The first pitch was delayed 3 hours, 10 minutes by passing showers.
SALE OF THE CENTURY
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale, who is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA in three starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, will be back on the mound Wednesday against the Rays. Sale has pitched every six days to date, but Cora said: “This will be the last time Chris gets an extra day, though we do have some wiggle room in September.” Sale has struck out 21 and walked three over 15 1/3 innings.
Red Sox: 2B Christian Arroyo (COVID-19) will not be permitted to travel with the team to Boston. Strength coach Kiyoshi Momose also has COVID-19 and will remain in Cleveland with Arroyo.
Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (right shoulder strain) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday and is scheduled to work a simulated game later in the week. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner has been on the injured list since June 14.
Red Sox: RHP Nick Pivetta (9-6, 4.57 ERA) takes the mound Monday to begin a four-game series at Tampa Bay, facing Rays RHP Luis Patiño (3-3, 4.53 ERA).
Indians: RHP Zach Plesac (8-4, 4.78 ERA) pitches Tuesday in the opener of a three-game set at Kansas City. The Royals have not named a starter.