CLEVELAND (AP) - The comeback's complete. Four months later, the Indians are again atop the AL Central.
Carlos Santana homered leading off the ninth inning as Cleveland continued its stunning climb with a 6-5 win over the fast-fading Boston Red Sox on Monday night, moving the Indians into sole possession of first place for the first time since April 19.
After the Red Sox tied it in the top of the inning off closer Brad Hand, Santana, who hit a grand slam in the 10th to beat Minnesota on Sunday, connected on a 2-2 pitch from Marcus Walden (7-2). Santana's shot barely cleared the wall in left to give the Indians their biggest win in a season that seemingly grows more special every day.
"Right when you get punched in the stomach he takes a swing like that," Francona said of Santana, who connected for his 200th homer with Cleveland. "That was a gorgeous swing. I know the last two days, but he's been doing it all year."
Santana, who has had a storybook return to Cleveland after playing in Philadelphia last season, circled the bases and was mobbed at home by his overjoyed teammates, who trailed the idle Minnesota Twins by 11 ½ games but have gone an MLB-best 43-17 since June 4.
"Nobody threw in the towel," said Hand, who blew his second save in two days but got bailed out again by Santana. "Nobody gave up and we all battled together."
José Ramírez hit a three-run homer and Franmil Reyes had a two-run shot as the Indians moved 25 games over .500 with their sixth walk-off win.
It's been an uphill battle for months, but the Indians are finally in front - and hope to stay there.
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Browns defensive end Chad Thomas sustained a sprained neck but avoided a more serious injury during a scary moment at training camp.
Thomas was immobilized on the field and taken by ambulance to University Hospitals.
A team spokesman said Thomas, a third-round pick in 2018, was back at the Browns' facility Monday evening. His return to practice will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Thomas appeared to absorb a blow to his right shoulder and head area during a play. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder stood up but then went to the ground, where he was treated by Browns medical personnel.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - Oakland Raiders cornerback Nevin Lawson has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The league announced the decision Monday, one week after Lawson revealed he had tested positive for Ostarine despite "never knowingly" taking the substance.
Lawson signed a one-year deal with the Raiders in March after spending the past five seasons with the Detroit Lions. He was in the mix for one of the backup spots at cornerback for Oakland this season.
CLEVELAND (AP) - Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig has dropped the appeal for his three-game suspension for his involvement in a brawl when he was with Cincinnati.
Puig will begin serving his ban Monday night when the Indians, who have climbed back into a tie for first in the AL Central, open a three-game series against Boston.
Puig was disciplined for his involvement in the latest benches-clearing incident between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30. The fracas began shortly after Puig was dealt to the Indians as part of a three-team trade that sent right-hander Trevor Bauer from Cleveland to Cincinnati.
NEW YORK (AP) - Kyle Lowry of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors says his surgically repaired thumb has not recovered sufficiently enough to allow him to participate with USA Basketball in camp for the FIBA World Cup, and is withdrawing from consideration for the team.
Lowry made the announcement Monday after meeting with his surgeon to gauge the recovery of his thumb, which was operated on last month. He was hoping to be on the court with the Americans this week when they resume practice in Southern California.