Red Sox

Vazquez's three-run HR with two outs in ninth lifts Sox over Indians, 12-10

Vazquez's three-run HR with two outs in ninth lifts Sox over Indians, 12-10

BOSTON -- 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.

RAMIREZ ROBBED

Disappointed as Boston fans were to learn Jackson had taken a homer away from Ramirez, the Fenway Park crowd gave Jackson quite an ovation.

"That was awesome. I was just so pumped up it was like I didn't even hear them," Jackson said. "I was just pumped up for us and glad that I was able to hold onto it. Especially going over like that, I could've easily dropped it."

SLUGFEST

The game began with two of the top pitchers in the AL squaring off, but neither figured in the decision.

Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco didn't make it out of the second inning despite being given a quick 5-0 cushion by his teammates. Boston ace Chris Sale steadied himself after a rocky start and pitched five innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits.

"You talk about a roller-coaster game. When you jump up 5-0 on Sale, that's doing something," Francona said. "Then they came storming back. From there it was just back and forth."

Brandon Guyer, Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana also homered for Cleveland in a rematch of last year's AL playoff series won by the Indians.

"The big thing that really got me tonight was not keeping the ball in the ballpark," Sale said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis (right hamstring) started a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron. ... Cleveland activated RHP Joe Smith, acquired in a trade with Toronto on Monday.

Red Sox: Placed 2B Dustin Pedroia on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Saturday, with inflammation in his left knee. Pedroia missed the last three games before the Red Sox made the roster move Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA) received an extra day of rest after holding the Angels to one earned run and seven hits over eight innings last Thursday.

Red Sox: Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (4-14, 4.55) tries to end a four-game losing streak.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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