BOSTON (AP) — With the game on the line, Christian Vazquez launched a long drive that even Austin Jackson couldn’t reach.
Vazquez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox pulled off the final rally of a wild game Tuesday night, beating the Indians 12-10 despite an astonishing catch by Jackson.
“Some odd things took place offensively,” Boston manager John Farrell said, marveling at the outcome and the many twists and turns that preceded it as the Red Sox moved back into first place in the AL East.
The teams combined for 28 hits and six home runs, but Jackson made a defensive play that stood above all the offense when he robbed Hanley Ramirez of a leadoff homer in the fifth with a leaping grab in the right-center triangle at Fenway Park.
The center fielder reached way above the wall and tumbled head over heels into the Red Sox bullpen, disappearing from view momentarily before popping up and showing the ball was in his glove — to the amazement of players on both sides.
A replay review confirmed Jackson held on for the catch, and the sensational play earned him a standing ovation from rival Red Sox fans.
“That was one of the best catches I think I’ve ever seen,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “I’ve been in the game a long time. That’s a hard wall out there and a lot of guys run away from it. Austin went up and over.”
Vazquez also went up and over, ending the game with a shot to center that Jackson could only turn around and watch leave the park as Vazquez rounded the bases and the Red Sox celebrated an unlikely victory. Mitch Moreland had just struck out swinging for what should have been the final out, but the pitch from Cleveland closer Cody Allen (0-6) was wild and Moreland reached first safely to extend the inning.
Allen then fell behind 3-1 in the count and Vazquez pounced on the next pitch.
“I was going to try to throw my best fastball and hopefully get an out,” Allen said. “He hit that ball a long way.”
Vazquez wasn’t the only one. Cleveland tied it on Francisco Lindor’s leadoff homer in the top of the ninth and took a 10-9 lead on Craig Kimbrel’s bases-loaded wild pitch with Jackson at the plate. But the Indians, who led 5-0 after two innings, blew the lead for the third and final time in the bottom of the ninth.
Moreland hit a three-run homer in the second and Eduardo Nunez had three hits and four RBIs for the Red Sox, including a bases-loaded double in the sixth as Boston scored four times to take its first lead.
“I don’t know if you can separate the ninth from any other part of this game. We haven’t had a game like this for a long time,” Farrell said.
The comeback lifted Boston a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees, who lost 4-3 to Detroit.
Kimbrel (3-0) blew a save for the fourth time this season, but ended up with the win when Vazquez hit his second homer of the year.
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