Gomes' walk-off provides just what Indians need

Slumping catcher gives club a win to close out tough day

Gomes' walk-off provides just what Indians need

CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis got there first. The Indians second baseman sprinted from the dugout, ran across the infield and jumped into the arms of Yan Gomes, knocking the catcher to the grass. A dogpile soon formed atop Gomes as the celebration continued.

Gomes needed this type of moment, but so did the Indians. After an emotionally draining day, which began with Tribe outfielder Marlon Byrd receiving a 162-game suspension, Cleveland pulled off a 5-4, 11-inning victory over the Rangers thanks to a walk-off single by Gomes. A tough day ended with smiles all around.

"I'm exhausted," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's a good end to a really long day. You can't help but have emotions when you're dealing with some of the stuff we did. It's a nice way to end the day. I think we're all going to sleep good."

Francona on walk-off win

That especially goes for Gomes.

With Indians starter Trevor Bauer on the mound, Gomes began on the bench in order for Chris Gimenez to handle the pitcher. The day off from starting came after Gomes turned in a .148 batting average across 21 games in May. Over his past seven games, the catcher hit at a .111 (3-for-27) clip. Arguably more than any other Indians batter, Gomes needed a sigh of relief.

That arrived in the 11th inning, which began with Lonnie Chisenhall slapping a double down the left-field line against Texas lefty Alex Claudio. At first Gomes attempted to bunt Chisenhall over to third base, but the catcher fouled off a pitch and opted instead to swing away.

"After that," Gomes said, "you've just got to figure out a way to get him to third or try to get him in."

Gomes received an 87-mph sinker, which he chopped back up the middle. The ball bounced beyond the reach of a leaping Claudio and skipped through the infield and into center field for a single. Chisenhall raced around third and scored with ease, setting off the on-field party for the Indians.

Gomes' walk-off single in 11th

"It was great," Chisenhall said. "It's such a long year. I know he's looking uphill right now. This is a good point to start."

Francona agreed.

"I think that will do Gomer a world of good," Francona said. "It didn't hurt us, either."

It was just what Cleveland needed after its draining day.

"When stuff like that happens," Bauer said, "the field is almost like a little respite, where personal issues, family issues, friend issues, whatever is going on, when you step between the white lines, all that stuff fades. When the game ends, all that stuff comes back pretty quick. It's a lot easier to handle when you go out on a winning note."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.