Oscar Mercado‘s spectacular running catch saved the game for the Cleveland Indians. It also might have saved their season. The rookie made a leaping, backhanded grab of Eloy Jimenez‘s drive to center field with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, allowing the Indians to escape with an 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night. Cleveland had built an 8-2 advantage in the eighth before Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson each hit two-run homers, the latter off All-Star closer Brad Hand.
Nick Wittgren entered to face Jimenez, who hit a rocket toward the deepest part of the ballpark but was left speechless and smiling as he tipped his cap to Mercado after the play. Wittgren then struck out Ryan Goins to end the 3 hour, 54 minute game.
Right-hander Shane Bieber (13-7) struck out nine and allowed two runs over seven innings, winning for the first time in five starts since Aug. 9. The All-Star Game MVP exited with a six-run lead, but couldn’t exhale until Wittgren locked up his fourth save
Mercado also had three hits while Franmil Reyes hit a two-run homer — his 34th of the season and his seventh since being acquired from San Diego — and rookie Yu Chang had two singles and drove in a pair of runs. Reyes is batting .400 with five homers and 15 RBI over his last 12 games.