Nathan Eovaldi, whose return to the rotation was set to take place Wednesday, was instead used in relief for two outs in the eighth inning. Then, after Brandon Workman blew the save in the ninth, the man Eovaldi was expected to replace on the starting staff, Andrew Cashner, took the mound with a one-run lead in the 10th and converted his first career save.
It wasn't what manager Alex Cora drew up, but in the end it worked. Now, Boston will look to steal a three-game series win in Cleveland in the finale Wednesday afternoon.
With Eovaldi needed in relief, left-hander Brian Johnson (1-1, 7.32 ERA) will serve as the Red Sox's opener in the pivotal contest. The Indians will counter with right-hander Shane Bieber (12-4, 3.28).
Needing to string together a serious run of wins to get back in the wild-card hunt, Boston overcame blowing a 6-1 lead to escape with a 7-6 victory Tuesday. The win snapped a three-game skid and was the team's fourth in the past 16 games.
"It was a grind," Cora said. "Give the guys credit -- they made some plays, had some good at-bats. They didn't stop playing, and we ended up winning the game."
Key to the result was a historic night from third baseman Rafael Devers, who became the first player in the live-ball era to go 6-for-6 with four doubles in a game. Devers also had three RBIs.
"I had no idea, I just try to go out there and have a good at-bat," Devers said, through a translator, of making history. "That's really all that I was thinking about."
For the Indians, the defeat was just their third in the past 12 games. Coming back to tie it in the ninth was a positive, but Francisco Lindor, who knotted the score on an RBI double, lamented being thrown out at third right after on an attempted steal.
"I messed up," Lindor said. "It's a rookie mistake."
"If he makes it, we probably win," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "I don't want to take our aggressiveness away because every once in a while you are going to be out."
Johnson will make his fourth straight start for Boston, having been tagged for three runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels his last time out. He's pitched more than three innings once in nine appearances this season.
Johnson has faced the Indians twice in his career, giving up three runs in 7 1/3 innings total.
Unlike his counterpart, Bieber has been a consistent source of length for Cleveland, with two complete games in his past four starts. He went seven innings against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, allowing two runs and striking out 11 to get within seven punchouts of 200.
Bieber beat the Red Sox on May 29 despite getting rocked for six runs on eight hits, three of which were home runs, in five innings. He's 2-1 with an 8.44 ERA in three games (two starts) lifetime versus Boston.
--Field Level Media