Indians 5, Devil Rays 4, 12 innings
Ludwick singled home the tying run in the 10th inning Sunday, then won it in the 12th with a nearly identical hit that gave the Indians a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
He has delivered the winning hit in Cleveland’s last three extra-inning triumphs.
“I do like that situation and fortunately I’ve gotten it done,” Ludwick said.
Terry Mulholland (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings as Cleveland won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Ludwick, who had three hits and three RBIs, singled to left with one out in the 12th off Jesus Colome (3-6) to score Ben Broussard from second base. Broussard drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second by Casey Blake.
“It’s a great feeling,” Ludwick said. “In those situations, I just tried to shorten my swing. Some of those strikeouts lately have been grinding on me.”
Ludwick struck out twice, giving him 28 in 79 at-bats since joining the Indians on July 18 in a trade from Texas.
The Devil Rays lost for only the second time in seven games and are 16-11 since July 20.
Travis Lee homered to put Tampa Bay ahead 4-3 in the 10th, but Cleveland tied it on Ludwick’s two-out RBI single in the bottom half.
Before that, Baez struck out three in 1 1-3 perfect innings.
Jorge Sosa, in his first outing since being moved to the bullpen, pitched 4 2-3 hitless innings before yielding a one-out single to Broussard in the 10th. One out later, Ludwick hit the first pitch to left to tie it at 4.
“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.”
Sosa gave up one run and two hits, striking out eight with two walks over 5 1-3 innings.
Seven of the first nine Devil Rays to face Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook reached safely—without Tampa Bay scoring.
The Devil Rays had three hits, one walk, but no runs in the first. Westbrook was helped by a strong effort from right fielder Alex Escobar, who turned a flyout by Lee into a double play by throwing out Carl Crawford trying to score from third.
In the fourth, Hafner hit a two-out single and scored from first on Laker’s line double off the wall in left to tie it at 2.
Ludwick then lined an RBI single for a 3-2 lead.
Crawford’s speed helped the Devil Rays tie it against reliever Rafael Betancourt in the seventh. Crawford came back from an 0-2 count to work out a walk. He stole second, went to third on a flyout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Huff.
“We should have won,” Crawford said. “It’s frustrating when we were a pitch away from getting a big hit or stopping them.”
Tampa Bay’s Joe Kennedy gave up two unearned runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings, remaining winless in 11 starts. The left-hander is 0-6 since defeating Toronto on May 13.
Westbrook allowed two runs and seven hits over six innings.
Cleveland is 7-9 in extra-inning games and has won six of its last seven such games. … Tampa Bay has played in a major league-leading 71 games decided by two runs or fewer this season, going 35-36. … Huff extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a fifth-inning single. … Hafner entered the game hitting .167 (9-for-54) against lefties, but went 2-for-2 against Kennedy…. McDonald went 0-for-3 and is in a 1-for-28 slump.