CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor made a major blunder and owned it.
“I messed up,” the All-Star shortstop said. “It’s a rookie mistake.”
Lindor’s over-aggressive base running in the ninth inning sabotaged Cleveland’s bid at another dramatic win, and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered in the 10th inning as the Boston Red Sox edged the Indians 7-6 on Tuesday night after blowing a late lead and potential win for ace Chris Sale.
Boston’s Rafael Devers became the first player in major league history with six hits and four doubles — and he made a costly error at third base — as the Red Sox won for just the fourth time in 16 games.
Bradley drove a 2-0 pitch from Nick Wittgren (4-1) over the wall in right field for his 14th homer, allowing the Red Sox to hang on in a game that had numerous twists and turns.
“It actually did feel like a playoff game,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who couldn’t remember making as many moves in a regular-season game. “If we want to make it, we’ve got to start our playoffs before anyone else.”
Boston was on the verge of letting a win slip away before Lindor helped the Red Sox with a decision he’d love to have back.
With the Indians down 6-5 in the ninth, Greg Allen singled, stole second and scored when Lindor doubled with one out into the gap in left-center. He skipped into second base in celebration and then got daring.
With rookie Oscar Mercado at the plate, Lindor inexplicably tried to swipe third and was thrown out. Mercado then flew out, ending the Indians’ final threat.
“I felt good,” Lindor explained. “When I took off, I felt like I was gonna make it. Just getting ahead of myself. That was my bad. That’s on me. This one’s on me.”
Indians manager Terry Francona didn’t have a problem with Lindor’s gamble.
“It’s bang-bang and if he makes it, we probably win,” Francona said. “And I don’t want to take our aggressiveness away because every once in a while you are going to be out.”
The win was anything but easy as the Red Sox blew a 6-1 lead over the final four innings, costing Sale his seventh win on a night when he also made history by getting to 2,000 career strikeouts faster than any other pitcher.
Brandon Workman (9-1) got the win despite letting the Indians tie it in the ninth on Lindor’s double. Andrew Cashner, acquired last month from Baltimore, worked the 10th for his first career save in his 10th major league season.
Carlos Santana homered for the third straight game and Franmil Reyes connected for the Indians, 43-18 since June 4 and now a half-game behind Minnesota in the AL Central.
Sale came in needing five strikeouts to reach 2,000. He struck out the side in the first, added his fourth in the second and Sale reached the plateau in the third by fanning Mercado on a wicked, 81 mph slider.
According to information provided by the Red Sox, Sale bettered Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez’s mark by getting to 2,000 Ks in 1,626 innings. Martinez reached it in 1,711 1/3 innings, Randy Johnson took 1,733 1/3 innings and Max Scherzer 1,784.
Career strikeout leader Nolan Ryan (5,714) needed 1,865 2/3 innings.
“It’s cool. It’s special,” Sale said. “I’m not a guy who is really into his stats, but I respect it. I appreciate what it means. A lot of people put in a lot of hard work to help me get there.”
Indians two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber pitched four innings at Double-A Akron, his latest stop as works back from a broken right arm. He allowed two hits — one homer — walked one and struck out six.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Once they finish with Boston, the Indians begin a four-game series in New York against the Yankees, followed by three games with the Mets.
They’ll stay in a Manhattan hotel for the entire trip, and Francona is worried about per diem.
“Pretty much guarantee that a lot of guys come home with no money,” he said. “We get to set up shop and stay put for seven days. Just got to make sure everybody goes to the right ballpark, especially the young guys. Make sure they know what train they’re getting on or whatever.”
Red Sox: LHP David Price (left wrist cyst) played catch for the second day in a row and manager Alex Cora said he will be examined Wednesday to determine a timetable for his return. He is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list Thursday.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session and did fielding work, more positive developments in his battle with leukemia. Manager Terry Francona said Carrasco, out since June 5, wants to pitch to live hitters Friday, but needs medical clearance. “The fact that he feels he’s ready to do that is tremendous,” he said. “Even if this just helps him feel better, that’s OK with us.”