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Tribe overcomes 5-run deficit, but falls in 10th

@MandyBell02
August 14, 2019

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have put their "never-say-die" attitude on full display the last few nights. But this time, the Tribe came up just short. After being down five runs entering the bottom of the sixth, the Indians clawed all the way back to knot the game up in the

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have put their "never-say-die" attitude on full display the last few nights. But this time, the Tribe came up just short.

After being down five runs entering the bottom of the sixth, the Indians clawed all the way back to knot the game up in the bottom of the ninth, but the Red Sox answered in the top of the 10th with a solo shot that handed the Indians a 7-6 loss Tuesday night at Progressive Field. The team had been fresh off late-game comebacks after losing the lead in the ninth inning on both Sunday and Monday.

Box score

"They played their [rear-ends] off. I mean, my goodness," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's a hard game to win and we about did. We're gonna have to regroup quickly, but that was a heck of a game. You're not gonna win all of 'em, but it was a fun game to be a part of. I was proud of our guys."

The comeback

After an off performance for Mike Clevinger, allowing four runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings, Carlos Santana logged his third home run in as many games in the fourth inning and Franmil Reyes, who had gone 43 at-bats without a long ball until Monday, followed with a two-run blast in the sixth.

"He's so strong," Francona said of Reyes. "We had heard he hit a lot of his home runs to right field. Now I can see why. Shoot, it looked like almost a pop up. He's so strong. That should give him confidence, because when guys hit the ball the other way, we talk it about it all the time, and get rewarded for it. That should breed some confidence."

Francisco Lindor entered Monday's game hitting .183 with a .585 OPS in 71 at-bats with runners in scoring position this year. The Indians' shortstop put those numbers behind him, scoring two on a double in the seventh, and with a runner on second in the ninth, delivering a game-tying RBI double. Lindor was still a few steps from the bag when he began pointing at his dugout, jumping in celebration.

"We're here to compete," Lindor said. "We're having fun. We're enjoying the game and we have a good team. It seems like in the last couple innings we got better."

The steal attempt

But just minutes after becoming the hero, Lindor caused the momentum to turn in Boston's favor.

With one out and Oscar Mercado at the plate, Lindor decided on his own to attempt to steal third base. Although he was initially ruled safe, a 40-second review clearly showed that he was out.

"Yeah, but he had the green light, though," Francona said. "Again, it's bang-bang and if he makes it, we probably win. And I don't want to take our aggressiveness away, because every once in a while you are going to be out."

The failed steal handed the Red Sox an easy second out before Mercado ended the inning on a fly ball to right field.

"I messed up. It's a rookie mistake. … I got ahead of myself," said Lindor. "Live and learn from it. … . I just got to second and I was like, 'All right, I've got to get to third.' That way, I force them to pitch to Mercado and Santana. Got ahead of myself, got thrown out at third base with one of the best hitters in the game right now hitting third.

"When I took off, I felt like I was gonna make it. Just getting ahead of myself. That was my bad. That's on me. This one's on me."

The bunt

Nick Wittgren took the mound in the top of the 10th and recorded a strikeout before giving up the go-ahead homer to Jackie Bradley Jr. With the Red Sox back in the lead, Santana led off the bottom of the 10th with a single and the Indians, who entered the game leading the American League with 29 sacrifice bunts on the year, had Mike Freeman lay down a bunt in an attempt to move Santana into scoring position. But with José Ramírez hitting behind him, Freeman bunted directly to Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland, who was able to get the lead runner out at second.

"We wanted to at least give it one pitch," Francona said. "I figured they might walk Jose. I knew that. [Andrew] Cashner's so tough on lefties. I think he was trying to kind of get it by the pitcher like Freeman does, because he's such a good bunter. He just bunted it too hard to first."

The Indians came up just shy of winning their third straight game in the final inning. With that loss, on top of the Twins' 7-5 victory over the Brewers, Cleveland is a half-game back in the American League Central.

"Even with as poor a start as I came out with, which can kill a team's momentum, especially with an arm like [Chris Sale] and the way he was throwing the ball at the beginning of the game, for them to fight every at-bat speaks volumes for what this team has become," Clevinger said.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.