Ludwick singled home the tying run in the 10th inning, and delivered the game-winning hit in the 12th on Sunday, lifting the Indians to a 5-4 victory over the Devil Rays. The 25-year-old outfielder finished the day with three hits and three RBIs.
Ludwick has come through with the winning hit in each of Cleveland’s last three extra-inning triumphs.
“I do like that situation and fortunately I’ve gotten it done,” Ludwick said of hitting in the clutch.
In Cleveland’s 5-0 win over Minnesota on Wednesday, Ludwick had his first career multihomer game.
“Ryno’s had some big hits lately,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He wants to be up there in that situation and that is half of the battle, wanting to be up there.”
Ludwick is hitting just .219, but has five homers and 16 RBIs in 24 games since coming to Cleveland in a trade from Texas on July 18. He also fanned twice Sunday, giving him 28 strikeouts in 79 at-bats with the Indians.
The Devil Rays lost for only the second time in seven games, and are 16-11 since July 20.
STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 26 GB, AL East. Indians - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, AL Central.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Rob Bell (3-2, 5.83 ERA). Bell allowed two runs and two hits over seven innings, striking out two and walking four, in the Devil Rays’ 4-2 win over Baltimore on Tuesday. Bell is 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Billy Traber (6-6, 4.38 ERA). Traber gave up two runs and five hits over three innings of relief in the Indians’ 9-6 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. In his previous start, however, the rookie left-hander yielded just five hits over seven innings in Cleveland’s 3-0 win over Seattle on August 7. This is his first career start against Tampa Bay.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Aubrey Huff, .305 avg., 20 HRs and 70 RBIs; Rocco Baldelli, 68 runs; Carl Crawford, 38 SBs. Indians - Milton Bradley, .321 avg., 56 RBIs and 17 SBs.; Matt Lawton, 15 HRs; Casey Blake, 63 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Cleveland, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - Tampa Bay has played in a major league-leading 71 games decided by two runs or fewer this season, going 35-36. … OF-1B Huff is riding a 13-game hitting streak. … The Devil Rays, who have dropped two of the first three games of this four-game set, have never won a series at Jacobs Field. Indians - 1B Travis Hafner entered Sunday’s game hitting .167 (9-for-54) against left-handers, but went 2-for-2 against LHP Joe Kennedy. … SS-3B John McDonald is mired in a 1-for-28 slump. … OF Jody Gerut leads the Indians with eight outfield assists since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo in late April. … According to a published report, RHP Bob Wickman threw batting practice last Monday, and will probably begin a rehab assignment next week.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 20-39 on the road; Indians - 32-30 at home.
INJURIES: Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; INF Terry Shumpert (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 60-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL. Indians - C Victor Martinez (ankle), 15-day DL; SS Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Milton Bradley (back), 15-day DL; OF Matt Lawton (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Boyd (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL.