Tribe’s Axford can’t hold lead in 9th
The Cleveland Indians looked poised to salvage a four-game split.
One pitch from John Axford and one big swing by Alexei Ramirez changed that.
Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Axford in the ninth inning, rallying the Chicago White Sox over the Indians 4-3 on a rainy Sunday.
The Indians scored twice in the top of the ninth, getting the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by closer Matt Lindstrom.
Axford (0-1) came in seeking his fifth save in as many chances. He issued a leadoff walk to Jordan Danks, who stole second.
One out later, Ramirez homered over the left field fence.
“Nobody in this game is perfect,” David Murphy, whose single had tied the game in the ninth, said of Axford. “But everybody in here has confidence in him and knows that he’s going to get it done pretty much every day.”
The White Sox won a series against Cleveland for the first time since October 2012. Chicago took three of four in this set after dropping 14 straight to the Indians.
“Everybody knows me as an aggressive hitter,” Ramirez, who has a hit in all 13 games, said through a translator. “I’m going to go looking for a good pitch to hit and when I get it, I’m going to swing at it. And that’s what happened, I got a good pitch.”
“[Axford is] definitely a really good pitcher and he just left me a pitch up there and I was able to put a good swing on it,” he said.
The game was delayed 1 hour, 15 minutes because of rain in the area. There was another 45-minute delay in the fourth.
Cleveland trailed 2-1 going into the ninth. Michael Brantley reached on first baseman Jose Abreu’s error, and singles by Yan Gomes and Murphy tied it.
“Try to have a solid at-bat. There’s a lot of things you can do to be productive right there, at least get that runner at second to third,” Murphy said.
With two outs, Lindstrom (1-1) threw a wild pitch to Nick Swisher that put the Indians ahead.
Marcus Semien hit a solo home with one out in the eighth to give Chicago a 2-1 lead and chase Corey Kluber.
Kluber, who had his third straight start affected by weather, gave up eight hits and two runs over 71/3 innings. He struck out six without a walk.
“Oh, man, he was so good, even with the delay,” manager Terry Francona said. “He used all his pitches, worked ahead. He just basically really pitched a really good ballgame.”
Brantley gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead with two out in the fourth when he homered off Jose Quintana.
Cleveland is off today before beginning a three-game series at Detroit on Tuesday with right-hander Zach McAllister (1-0, 2.31 ERA) scheduled to face Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 3.00 ERA).