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TEX@CLE: Raburn delivers a three-run, walk-off homer

CLEVELAND -- Why settle for moving runners over with a sacrifice bunt when you can just hit one over the fence?

In the 11th inning of Friday night's game against Texas, Indians designated hitter Ryan Raburn approached the plate with a sacrifice in mind after teammates Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana got things started with a pair of singles.

After showing bunt for a couple pitches, Raburn and the Indians had a change of heart. He took the third pitch for a ball before sending the fourth -- a slider from Rangers reliever Jason Frasor -- flying over the left-field fence.

In doing so, Raburn sent the Indians to an 11-8 walk-off win, their seventh walk-off victory of the season. The homer gave Cleveland two straight wins and picked up a pitching staff that had blown a six-run lead earlier in the game.

"They told me, 'Get it down,'" Raburn said. "Then they took it off, and then I was able to get a ball up a little bit.

"It paid off for us. Like I said, any way we can get a win is awesome."

During Raburn's at-bat, Texas was aggressive with its infielders, and once Raburn worked a 2-1 count, Indians manager Terry Francona figured it made more sense to just let his hitter hit.

Raburn came through in a big way, picking up the second walk-off home run of his career. He pumped his fist as he tore out of the batter's box, anxious to make it back to the celebrating mob that awaited him at home plate.

"He just said, 'You know what, dude? I swing the bat. That's what I do,'" said Nick Swisher. "I'm just launching water on him, bro. I'm trying to think of something cool to do. I just grabbed the two coldest waters I could find and just tried to dump it on him."

Raburn's home-plate greeting was fine by him. With another win in the books, all the Indians were in high spirits as he was circling the bases. A few innings before, such exuberance was nowhere to be found.

Cleveland led 7-1 after four innings and 8-4 after six, at which point starter Corey Kluber handed the ball to Cody Allen in the bullpen. Allen surrendered two runs in two-thirds of an inning, Rich Hill retired his only batter and Joe Smith gave up two runs during the eighth, with Ian Kinsler delivering a two-run single to tie the game.

"Let's just be flat blunt," Swisher said. "If we lost that game, man, that would have hurt. That would have hurt a lot. But we didn't, so let's not even go down that road."

The Indians never trailed, however, thanks in part to a pair of scoreless innings from closer Chris Perez. After he used five pitches to get through the ninth, Perez went out for the 10th and induced two groundouts and got a strikeout.

"To me, that was the key," Francona said of Perez, who worked two full frames for just the ninth time in his career and first since May 29, 2010, in Yankee Stadium.

Swisher put the Indians on the scoreboard with his 11th homer of the season, a solo shot to left field in the first inning. Cleveland grabbed a couple more runs in the second, and four more in the fourth.

In the the third, Cleveland gave its opposition a free run with some shaky defense. Kluber and catcher Carlos Santana were both charged with errors during the frame, helping Texas to its first run.

Across six innings, Kluber gave up seven hits and four runs, three of which were earned. The right-hander -- who left his last start with hip tightness but felt fine on Friday -- had three strikeouts against just one walk. In five July outings, Kluber is 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA. He's piled up 31 strikeouts and 11 walks over 30 1/3 frames this month.

"It didn't really affect me too much tonight," Kluber said. "Hopefully, it's in the past."

Until Raburn's blast, the Indians' only other run came in the sixth, when the Tribe reeled off three straight singles. Texas, meanwhile, plated one run in the fifth and two each in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

"I liked the way we battled," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We could have easily given up and we didn't. We grind and we battle and we put ourselves in position. They just had the last say-so."

Texas finished with eight runs, 14 hits and three errors. The Indians had 11 runs, 18 hits and two errors.

And no runs were bigger than those that came off Raburn's bat in the 11th.

"I got a sign for a slider," Frasor said. "I threw the heck out of it. I didn't know if he was bunting or not, but I put it down the middle. I put it on a tee for him."

With Raburn as the hero, the Indians pushed their record in extra-inning games to 6-1.

"It's funny," Raburn said, "because in the back of my mind I still thought about just still [bunting] on my own, just to try to get that runner over there. But the way I've been feeling at the plate, honestly, I felt like I had better chances of swinging the bat, and it paid off for us." Comments