CLEVELAND -- Cleveland first baseman Nick Swisher's error on a routine pop foul in the ninth inning gave Washington's Anthony Rendon a second life, and Rendon made the most of it, blasting his first major-league home run to lift the Nationals to a 7-6 win over the Indians Saturday night at Progressive Field.
With the score tied 6-6, two outs and nobody on base, Rendon lifted a pop foul behind first base. Swisher appeared to be in position to make the catch, but at the last instant he pulled away, apparently thinking second baseman Jason Kipnis was going to make the catch.
The ball fell safely into foul territory on what was ruled an error on Swisher.
Rendon then pounded a pitch from reliever Vinnie Pestano (1-2) over the right-field wall for a home run, giving Washington a 7-6 lead. Rafael Soriano pitched the bottom of the ninth to pick up his 18th save, preserving the win for fellow reliever Craig Stammen (5-2).
The Indians fell behind 5-0 after the top of the third inning, but mounted a comeback capped by a three-run fifth inning that gave them a 6-5 lead.
After Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir was chased in the third inning, relievers Matt Albers and Brian Shaw held Washington scoreless for four innings, which allowed the Indians to climb back in the game and take the lead.
However Joe Smith, whose 1.16 ERA is the lowest on the Indians' staff, gave up a game-tying home run in the eighth inning. With two outs and nobody on base, Washington pinch-hitter Chad Tracy belted an 0-2 pitch from Smith into the Cleveland bullpen in center field for his second home run of the season, both of them coming as a pinch-hitter.
Tracy's home run tied it at 6-6.
The Nationals jumped on Kazmir early and often as three of the first six batters hit home runs. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth belted back-to-back homers in the first inning and Ian Desmond led off the second with Washington's third solo homer of the game.
Kazmir never made it out of the third, in which he gave up a double and then walked three of the next four batters before being removed from the game after pitching a season-low 2 2/3 innings.
The Indians used the long ball to mount a comeback. Mike Aviles doubled and scored on a single by Kipnis off Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman in the third. In the fourth, Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds hit back-to-back, two-out home runs to cut Cleveland's deficit to 5-3.
The Indians took a 6-5 lead in the fifth with a two-out, three-run rally that included an RBI single by Swisher and a two-run double by Michael Brantley.
NOTES: Before the game, the Indians announced the signing of their top draft pick, Georgia high school outfielder Clint Frazier, the fifth overall pick in the June Amateur Draft. ... Ubaldo Jimenez, who was scheduled to make his next start on Monday against Kansas City, asked to have his start moved back one day, which the Indians have done. Carlos Carrasco will now start Monday and Jimenez on Tuesday. ... Desmond entered Saturday having played 47 consecutive errorless games, the longest current streak of any shortstop in the majors.