BOSTON (AP) — The Cleveland Indians had plenty to celebrate despite the late hour.
Zach Plesac delivered a solid start in his major league debut and the bottom of Cleveland’s lineup led a wild ninth-inning rally as the Indians scored five and beat the Boston Red Sox 7-5 on Tuesday night.
“I was proud of the whole group. We’ve had a tough, tough week, and they kept on playing and they kept on having energy,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t care what time it is. We get to go home with a win.”
The Indians didn’t score at all until the eighth inning and trailed 5-2 entering the ninth, when Boston’s bullpen imploded and Cleveland rallied behind some unlikely sources.
Roberto Perez led off the ninth with a homer off Ryan Brasier and Greg Allen hit a two-run shot to tie it at 5-all. Jordan Luplow added a two-run double to give Cleveland its first lead and Brad Hand survived a bit of a shaky ninth for his 14th save, completing a rare come-from-behind win for the Indians on a rough night for relievers.
Plesac pitched 5 1-3 innings, holding Boston to one run on four hits after being interrupted by a one hour and nine minute rain delay in the middle of the second inning.
“I thought he accounted for himself really well,” Francona said. “There was a lot thrown at him. He’s making his debut at Fenway. It’s raining. He doesn’t know if we’re going to start on time, then there’s a delay. . He wasn’t scared. He didn’t back down from anybody.”
Nick Wittgren (2-0) got the win despite allowing two runs on three hits in the eighth, his only inning.
Ryan Brasier blew a save opportunity and a 5-2 lead in the ninth. Perez started the rally with a leadoff homer to center, Jake Bauers walked and Allen — who was hitting .091 entering the game — homered to right and tied it at 5-all.
“No excuse right there,” Brasier said. “A three-run lead, it should be in and out but I made a few bad pitches and they made me pay for it.”
Boston wasn’t quite done imploding. Travis Lakins (0-1) took over for Brasier and hit Mike Freeman with a pitch and loaded the bases with a pair of walks, before Luplow hit a drive deep to right that bounced off the top of Mookie Betts’ glove at the wall.
Luplow said Allen’s homer, his first of the season and fourth of his career, was what really put Cleveland over the top.
“He was due for something big. He’s been swinging the bat well since he came back, and he finally got his,” Luplow said. “It’s big for us. It shows that we fight for every out and every at-bat, every pitch.”
The wild ending spoiled strong starts by Boston’s David Price and Plesac, who carried a shutout into the sixth inning of his major league debut.
Price allowed only three hits and struck out six in six innings.
NICE JOB, KID
Plesac threw 86 pitches and got a round of pats on the back from his teammates and Francona on the mound after Rafael Devers’ triple with one out in the sixth.
Xander Bogaerts followed with a single up the middle and Plesac appeared on the hook for a loss until the ninth.
Plesac, called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day, said he stayed warm during the delay by riding a stationary bike in the clubhouse, helping keep his mind occupied, too.
“I was just trying to stay slow motion and kind of play it by ear,” Plesac said. “I didn’t know when the tarp was coming off, didn’t know what the rain looked like. I just stayed loose, stayed ready and was ready for game time.”
The light rain that fell in the first picked up and the grounds crew replaced the tarp over the infield after the top of the second. The PA system chimed in with “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones as poncho-clad fans scrambled for cover in the concourse. The game was delayed one hour and nine minutes by rain.
Indians: Optioned LHP Josh Smith to Triple-A Columbus to clear roster space for Plesac. . RHP Danny Salazar (shoulder surgery) threw live batting practice Tuesday in Goodyear, Ariz. . RHP Mike Clevinger (shoulder) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Saturday in Goodyear. ... OF Tyler Naquin (left calf strain) continued a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) is scheduled to throw a simulated game in New York on Thursday or Friday.
Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (3-2, 3.11 ERA) gets the start in the series finale, which was moved up to a 6 p.m. start to alleviate some of the congestion with the Bruins hosting the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Bieber has 25 strikeouts in his last two starts.
Red Sox: RHP Ryan Weber (1-0, 1.29) picked up his first career victory as a starter Thursday at Toronto, holding the Blue Jays to one run on three hits in six innings.