Murphy delivers walk-off win for Tribe

Hits single with bases loaded in 10th; House matches Sale early

Murphy delivers walk-off win for Tribe

CLEVELAND -- The Indians needed something to celebrate. Coming off a discouraging series against the Tigers, Cleveland had to find a way to quickly turn the page and rekindle the kind of momentum it appeared to have going into September.

David Murphy provided precisely what was prescribed, delivering a game-winning single in the 10th inning on Friday night, propelling the Indians to a 2-1 win over the White Sox at Progressive Field. As Murphy headed up the first-base line, his teammates poured onto the field and chased him down for Cleveland's American League-leading 11th walk-off party of the season.

"We're grinding right now," Murphy said. "Every game is the most important game of the year right now. It'd be nice to be in a little bit better spot, but we're within striking distance and we need to go out and win every single day."

The victory came in the aftermath of Cleveland dropping three of four games to rival Detroit, and it helped the Tribe maintain its position in the AL Central. The Indians are six games back of the division-leading Royals and moved to 4 1/2 games back of the Mariners for the the league's second Wild Card.

Needless to say, the walk-off win came at an opportune time.

"I think it's great," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Every time we win is good, but I really wasn't that worried [about the team]. I think they're a little tired. I think everybody is this time of year, but they'll show up again [Saturday] and we'll see how we do."

The White Sox loaded the bases with one out in the 10th inning, but Cleveland reliever C.C. Lee induced a flyout and groundout to escape unscathed. In the home half of the frame, catcher Yan Gomes led off by pulling a pitch from Maikel Cleto into the right-field corner, where it bounced off the wall, skipped back into the outfield and gave Gomes enough time to leg out a triple.

After Chicago chose to intentionally walk Michael Bourn and Lonnie Chisenhall to load the bases, Jason Kipnis missed a chance to play hero with a strikeout. Fresh off the disabled list, Murphy then stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter and sent a pitch from Ronald Belisario up the middle and into center field for the game-winning hit.

"Those situations are the most fun in baseball," said Murphy, who was activated prior to the game after a month-long bout with a right oblique strain. "You always want the opportunity to win the game for your team with the game on the line."

That ended a game that had its tone estabished by a low-scoring duel between Indians lefty T.J. House and White Sox lefty Chris Sale.

The Indians broke through for one run in the first inning against Sale, who entered the evening with a league-leading 2.11 ERA. All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley -- just 2-for-19 in his career against the lefty going into the night -- slashed a pitch into left field for a two-out single to begin Cleveland's early push.

Brantley promptly stole second base, collecting his career-best 18th theft, and advanced to third on the play courtesy of a throwing error by catcher Tyler Flowers. That set things up for Carlos Santana to drive a pitch into left for an RBI single, giving the Indians a quick 1-0 advantage.

"Sale's got as good of stuff as anybody in the league," Francona said. "You know going in that you're going to have to fight for every run you get. And that was the only run we scored off him, but we got him out after six. When he leaves the game, not that you're going to win, but you feel better."

Following Santana's base hit, Cleveland's lineup went just 2-for-17 in the remainder of Sale's six-inning effort. The AL Cy Young contender struck out five and scattered five hits, but did not figure into the game's final decision.

The same went for House, who kept pace with Sale with the exception of one momentary lapse.

With two outs in the third inning, White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez launched a 2-2 pitch from the rookie left-hander deep to left-center field for a home run that pulled the game into a 1-1 deadlock. The blast was the 14th for Ramirez, who exited the game in the fifth after being hit on the left foot by a pitch.

Overall, House yielded the one run on seven hits, ending with seven strikeouts and no walks issued in seven innings.

"You just have to limit mistakes," said House, who has a 2.57 ERA in his past six starts for the Tribe. "A guy like [Sale] is going to go out there and not give up a lot of runs. [You] just try to match him pitch for pitch and inning for inning, just try to keep the team in the game."

House and Cleveland's bullpen were successful in that regard.

That paved the way for Murphy to play hero.

"That went well," Murphy quipped. "Easy win. See the ball, hit the ball."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.