Edwin Encarnacion hit an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning Friday night to snap a tie and lift the new-look Cleveland Indians to a 9-8 win over the Texas Rangers in the wild opener of a three-game series at Globe Life Park.
The Indians, who revamped their beleaguered bullpen during the All-Star Break by acquiring set-up men Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres, have won four of six. The Rangers have lost three straight and six of seven.
Hand and Cimber made their debuts Friday and appeared as if they would bridge the Indians to a routine win when they combined to allow a run over 1 2/3 innings in setting up closer Cody Allen. But after retiring the first two batters of the ninth, Allen gave up mammoth homers to Robinson Chirinos and Joey Gallo on consecutive pitches.
The Indians entered Friday with the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.28). Allen's blown save was Cleveland's 12th, the most in the majors.
The Rangers nearly won the game in the 10th, when they opened the inning with three straight singles off Zach McAllister (1-2). But McAllister induced Ronald Guzman to hit into a fielder's choice, which forced Elvis Andrus at home, before striking out Chirinos and Gallo.
Jose Ramirez led off the 11th with a double off Matt Moore (1-6) and scored on Encarnacion's third hit of the night.
Dan Otero earned his first save with a perfect bottom of the 11th to provide an atypically quiet ending to a game that featured four ties, four lead changes and a combined 34 hits and 24 runners left on base.
Jason Kipnis had two hits and three RBIs for the Indians while Yandy Diaz had four hits and two RBIs. Ramirez had two hits, including his 30th homer, and Brandon Guyer had three hits and an RBI. Tyler Nquin also drove in a run.
Gallo had two homers and three RBIs while Chirinos had two hits and two RBIs. Shin Soo Choo, who reached base safely for a team record 52nd straight game, finished with two hits and an RBI. Choo's streak is longest in majors since Kevin Millar reached base in 52 straight games in 2007.
Indians starter Trevor Bauer allowed four runs on nine hits and a season-high five walks while striking out seven over a season-low four innings. Rangers starter Martin Perez gave up six runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out four over 5 1/3 innings.
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