CHICAGO — Zach Walters couldn’t get a bunt down. And his manager was just fine with that since Walters came through with a go-ahead home run instead.
Walters hit a two-run home run in the 10th inning, lifting the Cleveland Indians to an 8-6 victory over the sliding Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall doubled to lead off the 10th against Jake Petricka (0-4), and after failing to sacrifice Chisenhall to third, Walters hit a 3-2 pitch well into the right-field bleachers to give the Indians the lead.
“Fortunately he didn’t get the bunt down,” Indians manager Terry Francona said, “but he’s a strong kid and there’s a lot of life in that bat and he’s that threat.”
Francona said Walters didn’t have to bunt, but just find a way to get Chisenhall to third. Walters did more than that, hitting his sixth home run of the season.
Bryan Shaw (5-3) pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings in relief for the win, keeping Cleveland 5 1/2 games behind Kansas City in the AL Central.
The Indians’ usually-sturdy rotation had an off night. Cleveland’s starters entered the night with a 2.57 ERA since Aug. 1, but got only 4 2-3 innings from T.J. House, who squandered a 3-0 first-inning lead and gave up five runs, including Alexei Ramirez’s fifth-inning home run.
Despite that, Cleveland won its third straight, moved to a season-high four games above .500 and kept pace in the tightly bunched hunt for an AL wild-card spot.
“We know exactly where we are and we know that we have to turn it on at this moment in time if we expect to catch anyone — whether it’s the wild card or the division,” House said.
Chicago lost its seventh straight and saw Petricka give up a go-ahead home run in his second consecutive appearance after allowing Brian McCann’s 10th inning walk-off Sunday against the New York Yankees.
“I think it’s location,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “He has everything velocity-wise and the stuff.”
Chicago didn’t get much from starter Jose Quintana, who went five innings and allowing six earned runs to match a season-high. His ERA also rose from 3.25 to 3.48 as he got his 11th no-decision of the year and major league-leading 38th since the start of the 2012 season.
Adam Eaton was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list (strained right oblique) before the game and went 1 for 4. He entered the game seventh in the AL with a .370 on-base percentage and had an eventful night in the field, committing an error in the sixth that led to a Cleveland run and also throwing out Roberto Perez at the plate on Michael Bourn’s single.
“I felt a little upset with myself because I got pretty good support tonight,” Quintana said.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (seven-day concussion disabled list) worked out with the team Tuesday and manager Terry Francona expects him to be ready Friday when he’s eligible to return.
White Sox: OF Moises Sierra (strained left oblique) went 1 for 4 in his second game of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte.
Indians RHP Corey Kluber (13-7, 2.46 ERA) starts Wednesday against Chicago’s Hector Noesi (7-8, 4.39 ERA). Kluber is 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA in eight games against the White Sox, including his May 4 start against Chicago when he struck out a career-high 13 and set a Cleveland record by fanning seven straight.
Starting Tuesday, the Indians play 30 games in 30 days. Francona isn’t worried about the impact of the schedule and is welcoming the rush of games. “Days off are great,” he said, “but we need to play.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said top prospect Carlos Rodon’s next start will be Saturday at Triple-A Charlotte, not Saturday in Chicago when they face the Tigers in a doubleheader. Rodon, 21, was the third overall pick and is the first player drafted this year to reach Triple-A.