Swisher's homer in 11th sends Indians past Sox
BOSTON — Nick Swisher didn’t try to hide his excitement after hitting an 11th-inning home run to win Sunday’s game for the Cleveland Indians.
“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, especially here, Father’s Day, getaway game,” designated hitter Swisher said after his line shot gave the Cleveland Indians their second straight 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
“We’re heading back home to where we feel extremely comfortable. I was so stoked, man. I wanted to smile all the way around the bases.”
Swisher, long a thorn in the side of the Red Sox and their fans from his days with the hated New York Yankees, hit his 16th career homer against Boston — only his fourth homer of the season — leading off the 11th against Junichi Tazawa (1-1). The hit came after Swisher, who returned from the disabled list at the start of the four-game series, had gone 0-for-4 on the day and 1-for-12 on the series.
“He obviously has that 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 — and got beat on it,” said Boston manager John Farrell.
Swisher heard boos every time he came to the plate in the series — and heard more as he rounded the bases.
“I love coming here. I absolutely love it,” he said. “You knew exactly the type of fans that are going to be here. They’re passionate about their squad. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. If you’re wearing a different jersey you’re going to get it.
“This is one of my favorite places to come out of here with a win.”
The victory gave Cleveland (35-35) a split of the four-game series and a 5-2 season series win over the Red Sox.
Swisher hit his no-doubter on a 2-1 pitch as the first batter faced by, who also walked home the winning run in Saturday’s game.
“A 2-1 fastball that he left on the inside part of the plate,” Farrell said.
Cleveland closer Cody Allen (3-1) pitched two perfect innings to get the win.
Left fielder Michael Brantley hit a solo homer (his career-high 11th) and catcher Yan Gomes had a sacrifice fly for the other Cleveland runs, as the Indians again came from behind. Designated hitter David Ortiz and second baseman Dustin Pedroia drove in the Boston runs, as the Red Sox fell to 31-38 with their second straight loss following seven straight home wins.
The Swisher hit was the first allowed in the game by five Boston relievers, the first four working a combined four scoreless innings.
The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the ninth — after right-hander John Axford walked the bases loaded around a pair of strikeouts.
“We had opportunities,” said Farrell, the manager of a defending champion that has scored two runs or fewer in 23 of its 69 games.
Red Sox starter Brandon Workman, who was allowed to pitch as Major League Baseball delayed final word on his six-game suspension for throwing at Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria until Monday, went six-plus strong innings. He left with two on and nobody out in the seventh and Gomes tied the game against right-hander Burke Badenhop.
Right-hander Corey Kluber worked the first 5 1/3 innings for the Indians.
Cleveland won both Saturday and Sunday without a hit with runners in scoring position (0-for-16) while stranding a combined 23 baserunners. The Red Sox went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the two games and stranded a combined 15.
Brantley, who has been hot, connected down the right-field line on a 2-2 pitch with two out in the first, but the Red Sox got the run right back in the bottom of the first. Third baseman Brock Holt (two hits) led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a groundout and home on Ortiz’s single off the Green Monster.
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a one-out walk in the fifth and went to third on Holt’s second hit. Pedroia, who made a pair of sparkling fielding plays on counterpart Jason Kipnis, then beat Kipnis’ double-play relay as Bradley scored the go-ahead run in the fifth.
The Indians tied the game in the seventh.
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NOTES: SS Stephen Drew returned to the Red Sox lineup after missing six games with a sore oblique. Drew made his fifth start and had two hits and a stolen base. ... Boston 3B Xander Bogaerts was out with flu-like symptoms, with utility man Holt coming back into the infield to play 3B. Bogaerts was able to pinch run late. Holt had two more hits and is hitting .340. ... RHP Trevor Bauer opens a four-game home series for the Indians against the Los Angeles Angels tonight, while RHP Rubby De La Rosa pitches for the Red Sox against the Minnesota Twins in the first of three at Fenway Park.