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Indians deal White Sox crushing walk-off defeat in 10 innings

Jose Ramirez belts a three-run homer after the Sox scored two in the top of the inning.

Indians players mob Jose Ramirez after his walk-off homer in the 10th inning gave them a win over the White Sox and a spot in the playoffs.
Indians players mob Jose Ramirez after his walk-off homer in the 10th inning gave them a win over the White Sox and a spot in the playoffs.
Tony Dejak/AP

The White Sox were on their way to widening their lead in the American League Central.

But Jose Ramirez had different ideas.

The Indians’ hottest hitter, building a case for AL MVP honors, belted a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning against right-hander Jose Ruiz on Tuesday night, dealing the Sox their most crushing defeat of the season, a 5-3 loss that loosened their grip atop the division. The Indians (31-24), who are 6-2 against the Sox (34-21), clinched a postseason berth and are three games out of first place with five to play.

Also trying to inch closer to the Sox were the Twins, who beat the Tigers 5-4 in 10 innings to move within a half-game.

It was the Sox’ fourth loss in five games on a road trip that won’t get any easier with Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac starting Wednesday and Thursday for the Indians. The Sox have their top starters, Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, set to pitch.

“We lost, and we just need to turn the page,” said Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez, who had his third straight good start with five innings of one-run ball. “Just get ready for tomorrow. Days like this or games like this can’t hold us back.”

An immediate health concern for the Sox is closer Alex Colome, who, after throwing only six pitches in a scoreless ninth, couldn’t pitch the 10th because of back spasms. Rookie right-hander Matt Foster (5-1) opened the 10th instead, protecting a 3-1 lead, and would have collected his first save had center fielder Luis Robert better timed Francisco Lindor’s high drive near the top of the wall with two outs. Robert just missed it, giving Lindor a double, and when Foster walked Cesar Hernandez, acting Sox manager Joe McEwing replaced him with Ruiz to face Ramirez.

“[McEwing] wanted to go with power,” said manager Rick Renteria, who had been ejected along with Tim Anderson by plate umpire Angel Hernandez in the top of the 10th.

Immediately after the ejections, Adam Engel tripled home James McCann from second and scored on Nick Madrigal’s single. Anderson had been seen yelling at Hernandez — whose ball and strike calls were questioned throughout the game by both teams — after Robert (0-for-4) struck out for the third time.

“[Hernandez] just turned around [and] he heard Timmy talking,” said Renteria, who was ejected for the second straight night. “He . . . continued to, I guess, keep his ears open to whatever was going on in the dugout, as opposed to just staying on to the field.”

Cesar Hernandez homered in the first inning, making it 1-0 Indians until Jose Abreu tied it with his 19th homer in the sixth.

Until the 10th, the bullpen was excellent. Rookie right-hander Codi Heuer pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Lopez, rookie lefty Garrett Crochet touched 102 mph in a scoreless eighth, and Colome was perfect in the ninth.

Heuer (1.61 ERA), who allowed one hit and struck out two, had pitched two innings only one other time this season. It was Crochet’s third scoreless appearance and his first in a high-leverage spot. He faced the first four batters in the Indians’ lineup, retiring Lindor and Hernandez on ground outs and striking out Carlos Santana after grazing Ramirez on the forearm with two outs.

Lopez became the first Sox starter to pitch five innings on the road trip. His ERA in his last three starts — 15 ⅓ innings — is 2.35.

“If we win the ballgame, nobody is thinking about frustration,” Renteria said. “We actually played a pretty decent ballgame. I think that we are handling it well. Having conversations with all these guys, they know where we are at.

“We have five games left. We have to put ourselves on track.”