To heck with the sacrifice bunt. Ryan Raburn hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning as the Indians defeated the Rangers 11-8 Friday night at Progressive Field. The Indians improved to 54-48 overall 31-19 at home. They played their first home game since July 14. Texas (56-47) has lost 10 of 13. Asdrubal Cabrera led off the 11th with a single against Jason Frasor. Cabrera moved to second on Carlos Santana's single. Raburn showed bunt on the first two pitches as the count went to 1-1. Indians manager Terry Francona to the delight of sabermetricians across the globe then scrapped the sacrifice. "Their infielders were being so aggressive'' Francona said. "It looked like it made more sense to let him swing. When infielders are moving and we have a good hitter up I'd just rather we force the issue.'' Frasor threw a ball. Raburn lined the 2-1 pitch a hanging slider over the left-field wall for his second career walkoff homer. "It's funny'' Raburn said. "In the back of my mind I still thought about bunting on my own. I wanted to make sure the runner at least got to third. But the way I've been feeling at the plate I thought the best chance was for me to swing. Fortunately it worked out.'' The Tribe has seven walkoffs this season one more than in all of 2012. Raburn's blast enabled the Indians to rescue what could have been an especially painful evening. The Tribe held leads of 7-1 through four innings and 8-4 through six. The Rangers scored two in the seventh and tied it with two in the eighth. "We set out to win the game'' Francona said. "We took a circuitous route to get there.'' Nick Swisher who went 2-for-6 with a homer said: "Let's be flat blunt: If we would have lost that game it would have hurt. But we didn't.'' Swisher raved about Raburn who is hitting .273 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 161 at-bats over 58 games. The Indians signed Raburn to a minor-league contract in January. Raburn having struggled with injuries batted .171 in 66 games for Detroit last year. "When I found out he was coming over here I could not have been more excited'' Swisher said. "He's having an unbelievable year. For him to have signed a one-year deal....Better lock him up.'' Raburn was the designated hitter Friday and went 2-for-6. He has 10 RBI in his last 11 games with an at-bat. The Tribe opened the scoring when Swisher homered off lefty Martin Perez with one out in the first. At that point Swisher was 5-for-13 with two homers since being moved from cleanup to the two-hole.
Ryan Raburn gives the Cleveland an 11th-inning walkoff winner over Texas, 11-8
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Jul 27