CHICAGO — Nick Swisher’s approach couldn’t have been more simple. The result couldn’t have been more timely.
Swisher ripped a long solo homer to cap a four-run ninth inning against Addison Reed Friday night, lifting the Indians to a 9-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox for a sweep of the longest doubleheader by time for two nine-inning games.
“It’s a major league record, right?” Swisher asked. “Definitely a long day.”
After pounding Chicago 19-10 in the opener in a game that lasted 4 hours, 2 minutes, the Indians came through in the end to take a nightcap that ran 3:51.
The 7:53 total made it the longest doubleheader with two nine-inning games on record, but the marathon came to an end after Swisher delivered a crushing blow.
Throw in 63 minutes between games — a 38-minute break, and, get this, a 25-minute rain delay — and that’s one marathon at the ballpark.
Reed (3-1) entered with an 8-5 lead in the ninth but quickly ran into trouble, blowing his fourth save in 25 chances.
“They did everything they could to get the ball in my hands,” Reed said. “I wanted nothing more than to close that game out and get the win tonight.”
He started the inning by giving up three straight singles to Ryan Raburn, pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Bourn to make it a two-run game. He then threw a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Jason Giambi, allowing Cabrera to score.
Jason Kipnis then tied it with a sacrifice fly to center field, driving in Bourn, and Swisher drilled a 3-2 pitch well into the seats in right to put Cleveland ahead.
“When you’ve got a closer throwing that hard, man, all you got to do is just try and find the barrel, man, and he’ll provide a lot of the power,” Swisher said.
The late rally made a winner of Matt Langwell (1-0), who got his first career win even though he allowed two runs in the eighth.
Vinnie Pestano walked Wells with one out in the ninth but struck out three for his sixth save in eight chances, finishing a game that ended just after 1 a.m.
Alejandro De Aza had three hits and scored four runs in the second game for Chicago. Jeff Keppinger had a pair of three-hit games for Chicago, with a homer in the opener.
Adam Dunn drove in two runs in Game 2 after going deep in the opener, and the White Sox looked like they were going to come away with the split before Reed gave it away.
“Ball was over the plate and up in the zone and they made me pay for it,” Reed said.
Jose Quintana lasted six innings, allowing five runs and five hits for Chicago. Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 and saw his ERA rise from 7.78 to 8.17.
But in the end, it was the Indians handing the White Sox another brutal loss.
In the opener, Jason Kipnis reached base six times and scored four runs, while Ryan Raburn homered and drove in four.
The Indians matched a season high for runs. They also set a season best with eight doubles while falling one hit shy of their most hits, 21.
Yet despite all that, Cleveland had to dig itself out of a five-run hole after the first inning and hang on after a nine-run lead dwindled to four.
Raburn gave the Indians some breathing room with a two-run drive off Ramon Troncoso in the seventh, making it 16-10. He also had a two-run single to break a 5-all tie in the fourth and spark a six-run rally.
Kipnis, who grew up in suburban Northbrook, Ill., extended his hitting streak to 10 and reached safely in his 30th straight game. He had three doubles, drove in two runs, and the only out he made was when Alejandro De Aza ran down his line drive to left in the ninth.
Then, in Game 2, the Indians somehow pulled one out in the end.
“To kick and scratch and fight,” Giambi said. “We just kept going and going and going.”