CLEVELAND (AP) — Ryan Raburn twice faked a bunt. There was nothing phony about his next swing.
Raburn hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning off Jason Frasor, giving the Cleveland Indians a wild and sloppy 11-8 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
After Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana singled off Frasor (0-2), Raburn squared to bunt on two pitches and possibly drop a sacrifice before pulling a 2-1 pitch onto the home-run porch in left to rescue the Indians, who blew a 7-1 lead and nearly lost to a Texas team that committed three errors and had three wild pitches.
“The bunt was on for the first two pitches, then they took it off,” Raburn said. “I was happy they did. The way I feel at the plate, I like my chances better swinging away. I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. He left a slider up and I was fortunate enough to hit it over the wall.”
As he neared home plate, Raburn flipped his helmet high into the air and was pummeled by his teammates who sprayed him with bottled water as Cleveland’s fans celebrated.
It was the seventh walk-off win this season for the Indians, who began a crucial stretch of 14 of 17 games at home.
Frasor was upset with the pitch he threw Raburn.
“It was a cookie right down the middle,” he said. “I put it on a tee for him.”
Bryan Shaw (1-2), Cleveland’s fifth reliever, stranded the go-ahead run at third in the 11th, and the Indians stayed within three games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
The Indians were in control, lost it and then needed Raburn’s dramatic homer to avoid a haunting loss.
“We may not have the best talent, but we have by far one of the tightest teams,” said Indians first baseman Nick Swisher, who homered in the first.
“When Raburn was coming around, I just grabbed the two coldest bottles of water I could find and was just launching at him. No one was excited about going to extra innings, but we’re always going to keep fighting hard and finding ways to win.”
Ian Kinsler had four RBIs and Nelson Cruz homered for the Rangers, who lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
Michael Bourn drove in three runs for Cleveland, which just returned from a disappointing trip to Minnesota and Seattle.
The Indians were thrilled to be back at home, where they play their best ball.
Despite some inconsistent play, Cleveland is still close to the Tigers, and the Indians are hoping to avoid a repeat of their collapse last season, when they went 5-24 in August and fell from contention.
“Our goal was to win the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We took a circuitous route to get there, but we won.”
Down 7-1 in the fourth, the Rangers kept chipping away and caught the Indians in the eighth.
Texas scored one run in the fifth, two in the sixth and seventh and the Rangers tied it on Kinsler’s two-out, two-run single off Joe Smith.
David Murphy singled leading off, and one out later, Smith hit Elvis Andrus on the leg. Leonys Martin sacrificed and Kinsler fell behind 0-2 in the count before pushing a single through the right side to score Murphy and Andrus.
Texas’ comeback cost Indians starter Corey Kluber what appeared to be a routine win. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, leaving with an 8-4 lead.
The Baseball Hall of Fame won’t be asking for any artifacts from this game. The teams combined for five errors and four wild pitches — three by the Rangers.
The Indians led 7-1 in the fourth, but even then the lead didn’t look safe against the Rangers, who got a leadoff homer from Cruz in the sixth and then pulled within 8-6 in the seventh off reliever Cody Allen, who gave up two runs, four hits and a walk.
Smith couldn’t keep the Rangers down in the eighth as Cleveland’s shaky bullpen — the Indians have blown 18 saves — continued to be a major issue.
General manager Chris Antonetti said before the game that he would like to add a reliever before the July 31 trading deadline. Indians closer Chris Perez was sharp, though. He pitched two perfect innings, the first time he’s gone that long since May 29, 2010.
The Indians scored four runs in the fourth to open a 7-1 lead and chase 22-year-old starter Martin Perez. Drew Stubbs and Bourn hit two-run singles in the outburst as Cleveland capitalized on two Texas errors in the inning.
The six-run lead, though, was erased by the Rangers, who couldn’t quite pull off a comeback win.
“We could have very easily given up, but we didn’t,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
A sudden surge of wildness by Perez helped the Indians open a 3-0 lead in the second.
Michael Brantley beat out an infield single and Mike Aviles followed with a base hit. Perez then uncorked consecutive wild pitches to the backstop, scoring Brantley and moving Aviles to third before he came home on Bourn’s grounder.
Swisher, who has acknowledged feeling pressure to live up to the four-year, $56 million contract he signed in December, gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first with his 11th homer.
NOTES: Cleveland had six walk-offs last season. … Andrus singled in the seventh, giving him a hit in all 35 career games against the Indians. … Hoping to clean up their recent rash of miscues, the Indians infielders took dozens of grounders before the game. “Just because we took grounders doesn’t mean we’re going to have a flawless game,” Francona said, “but getting back into the routine certainly does help — a lot.” … Raburn has 10 RBIs in his past 11 games. … The Indians are 6-1 in extra-inning games.