CLEVELAND — Cleveland manager Terry Francona put up a pinch-hitter in the middle of an at-bat and the strategy paid off when Tyler Naquin lofted a game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth inning that lifted the Cleveland Indians over the Chicago White Sox 5-4 Thursday night.
The AL Central-leading Indians scored a single run in each of the last five innings to overtake Chicago. Cleveland improved to 6-2 on an 11-game homestand.
Abraham Almonte doubled to begin ninth off Jacob Turner (1-2). With Roberto Perez batting, a passed ball by Dioner Navarro moved Almonte to third.
Francona then sent Naquin to the plate with a 1-0 count. The rookie drove the first pitch he saw to center field, deep enough that Adam Eaton couldn’t prevent Almonte from scoring.
Andrew Miller (7-1) earned the win with one inning of scoreless relief.