CLEVELAND — Johnny Manziel had scrambled away long before Asdrubal Cabrera came to the plate in the 12th inning.
And when Cabrera connected for a three-run homer in the 12th inning, ending a game that took nearly seven hours to play, Indians manager Terry Francona was relieved to be finally leaving the ballpark.
“Nice to see anyone come through,” Francona said.
Cabrera connected for a three-run homer with one out in the 12th, giving Cleveland a 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox early Thursday and a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champions.
With two runners on and Boston playing five infielders and only two outfielders, Cabrera made the shift moot by driving an 0-1 pitch from Edward Mujica (2-2) into Boston’s bullpen as the Indians won their sixth straight overall and ninth in a row at home. Cleveland is an AL-best 21-11 at Progressive Field.
Cabrera slid into home plate after his fifth homer and was doused with water by his teammates, who were relieved to finally end a game that didn’t finish until 2:02 a.m.
The start of the game, originally set for 7:05 p.m., was delayed by rain until 9:33 p.m., canceling a scheduled ceremonial first pitch by Manziel, the Browns’ popular rookie quarterback, who flashed his signature “money” gesture when he and his teammates were introduced to the crowd.
With practice on Thursday, Manziel ducked out early and was long gone when the game ended with just a few thousand die-hard fans in the seats.
The teams each used seven pitchers, who combined to throw 364 pitches.
“Regardless of the time, anytime you go 12 innings, losses sting a little bit,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We were doing everything we could to extend the ballgame. Guys came out of the bullpen and did a good job. Cabrera just got hold of a breaking ball and put an end to this one.”
Mujica didn’t make any excuses.
“That pitch was a big mistake and he hit it out,” he said. “I left it over the plate. It was a little crazy, but we had to keep it going however we could.”
Carlos Carrasco (1-3), the Indians’ seventh pitcher, worked two innings.
The surging Indians have trimmed seven games off first-place Detroit’s lead in the AL Central in 17 days. Cleveland is within 3 1/2 games and back to .500 for the first time since April 24.
David Ortiz homered for the Red Sox, who came in riding a seven-game winning streak but are now headed in the wrong direction.
Trailing 4-2 and in danger of leaving town winless, the Red Sox tied it in the seventh inning when they chased Indians starter Corey Kluber on Brock Holt’s two-run single.
Kluber, who was so dominant in May going 4-0 with 60 strikeouts in 43 innings, walked Stephen Drew to start the seventh and Daniel Nava singled. Jackie Bradley Jr. sacrificed and Holt followed with his game-tying base hit to center.
Kluber got a no-decision and remained unbeaten in seven starts since April. He allowed four runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Michael Brantley had three hits off Boston starter Brandon Workman, who pitched while appealing a six-game suspension for throwing at Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria last week. Workman gave up three runs in five innings.
Ortiz’s 13th homer gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the sixth.
Kluber blanked Boston over the first five innings but opened the sixth by hitting Xander Bogaerts in the right elbow. The right-hander retired Dustin Pedroia on a hard liner to right, but wasn’t so fortunate with Ortiz, who ripped a fastball over the fence in right-center — a 422-foot shot — to give the Red Sox their first lead of the series.
It didn’t last long.
The Indians scored three runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Jason Kipnis and another clutch hit by David Murphy, who is batting .383 (18 of 47) with 31 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
Brantley picked up his 23rd RBI in his past 32 games in the first with a one-out single to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, Brantley helped Kluber by making a leaping catch at the left-field wall to rob Bradley of extra bases.
NOTES: It was the Indians’ fifth walk-off win. They are 4-1 in extra inning. ... Red Sox C A.J. Pierzynski was ejected in the sixth by plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. ... Brantley is batting .349 (45 of 129) in 32 games since April 29. ... Indians RHP Danny Salazar was placed on the 7-day DL at Triple-A Columbus with a strained right triceps. Francona doesn’t think the injury is serious and expects Salazar, who started Cleveland’s playoff game last October, to miss “one or two starts.” ... Indians RHP Zach McAllister’s rehab start with Lake County (A) was rained out and pushed to Thursday. The right-hander, out with a sore lower back, is expected make a second start in the minors.