CLEVELAND — The bunt was not particularly well-placed, but it was still effective.
“Sometimes if you get a bunt down, something good happens just because you got it down,” Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said.
A throwing error by first baseman Brock Holt on a bunted ball in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed the winning run to score as the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Monday night at Progressive Field.
With the score tied at 4-4, Brandon Guyer led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to left field off Brandon Workman (0-1). Roberto Perez laid down an attempted sacrifice bunt that rolled halfway to the mound.
Holt raced in, fielded it, hesitated, then threw wildly to third base in an attempt to get Guyer. The ball rolled into foul territory, and Guyer raced home with the winning run.
“It was a routine play,” Holt said. “I just couldn’t get it out of the glove, fumbled it a little bit, and then tried to rush the throw and made a bad one.”
Boston manager John Farrell said, “The hesitation was more him trying to get a clean transfer. Then he rushes the throw, pulls it wide, and that was the difference.”
The victory went to Cody Allen (1-6), who pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.
Cleveland won the game but lost two players. Star reliever Andrew Miller pitched to one batter in the seventh inning, walking him, then left the mound after a recurrence of right patellar tendinitis. It is the same injury that caused Miller to be on the disabled list from Aug. 2-17.
“He threw one pitch and really felt it,” Francona said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board. That’s not what we were hoping for, but we’ll let the medical people put their heads together and see what they can do.”
Indians first baseman Carlos Santana left the game in the eighth inning with tightness in his lower back.
But for Cleveland, a win in the opener of a four-game series between two American League division leaders took some of the sting out of the injuries.
“We got timely hits,” Guyer said. “All the pitchers, everyone did their part tonight. That’s how you beat a good team.”
Trailing 4-3, Cleveland tied it in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Edwin Encarnacion.
The Red Sox got a pair of two-run home runs, from Andrew Benintendi in the first inning and Hanley Ramirez in the fifth. Both homers came off Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger.
“Two pretty bad pitches. Really bad mistakes at inopportune times,” Clevinger said.
After Ramirez’s homer, five Cleveland relievers held Boston scoreless on one hit over the last 4 2/3 innings.
It didn’t take long for Boston to open an early lead.
With one on and one out in the first inning, Benintendi hit an 0-1 pitch into the seats in right field for his 18th homer, his fifth in the last 10 games, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the second, Perez, who came into the game hitting .177, pounded a 1-1 pitch from Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez over the wall in center field for a three-run homer. But that 3-2 Cleveland lead vanished three innings later.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Mookie Betts, who had walked, attempted to steal second but was called out. However, the Red Sox challenged the call, and after a video review, the ruling was overturned, and Betts was called safe. The reversal became huge when Ramirez hit a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for his 19th home run of the season, a two-run blast that gave Boston a 4-3 lead.
NOTES: Indians RHP Josh Tomlin threw a three-inning simulated game Monday. he has been on the disabled list since July 31 with a strained left hamstring. … Although he was acquired by the Indians from the Mets in a trade on Aug. 9, Monday night was OF Jay Bruce’s first game at Progressive Field since the deal. Bruce joined the Indians on the first game of an 11-game road trip that ended Sunday. On the trip, Bruce hit .375, with five doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs in 40 at bats. He finished 1-for-4 Monday. … 1B Mitch Moreland was a pregame scratch from the Boston lineup due to a sore neck. He was replaced by INF/OF Brock Holt. … 3B Rafael Devers was 28-for-80 (.350) in his first 21 major league games, the most hits by a Red Sox player in his first 21 games since Johnny Pesky had 28 in 1942. Devers went 0-for-4 on Monday.