Phelps’ first career homer made a winner of Tony Sipp (3-0), who recorded the final two outs in the top of the frame. Tribe starter Justin Masterson left after five innings and didn’t factor into the decision to extend his winless streak to 10 starts.
Tim Wood (0-1) suffered the loss by serving up Phelps’ winning blast.
It capped a game that featured a rain delay of nearly two hours and a duration of nearly 3 1/2 hours thanks to the two extra innings.
The two teams came out of the lengthy rain delay knotted at two apiece and it would stay that way for a while after a couple defensive gems.
Asdrubal Cabrera made a spectacular barehanded grab and throw on Brandon Woods’ chopper just at the outside edge of the infield for the second out of the 10th. Cabrera was then robbed of a possible extra-base hit in the bottom half when he blasted a shot to deep left, but Jose Tabata made a leaping catch against the wall to end the 10th.
Sipp escaped the 11th by inducing Neil Walker to fly out and Garrett Jones to ground out. The Indians then put two runners on during the bottom half to set the table for Phelps’ heroics.
Shin-Soo Choo had a one out single and stole second before Carlos Santana was intentionally walked. Wood then elevated a four-seam fastball to Phelps, who belted it into the seats in right-center to end the game and give the Indians their seventh win in nine games.
Meanwhile, the Pirates came into the series two games over .500 and left Cleveland with a losing record. But it wasn’t because of starting pitcher Jeff Karstens. Before the rain delay, he allowed two runs — one earned — on five hits over seven innings.
The Pirates gave him a two-run lead in the first. Xavier Paul had a one-out triple and scored on Walker’s liner to center field. Walker rounded to third on Jones’ base hit and touched home when Matt Diaz grounded into a force out.
However, The Indians squared it in the second. Santana led off with a home run to snap Karstens’ career-high 15 2/3 shutout innings streak.
Phelps followed that up with a double into right. After Jack Hannahan drew a walk, Lou Marson grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but Phelps still scored to make it a 2-2 game.
The Pirates have lost 13 straight road games against the American League…The Indians improved to 6-0 in interleague play this season. It was Cleveland’s first sweep of Pittsburgh since July 2000…Cleveland fired hitting coach Jon Nunnally, replacing him with Bruce Fields on Sunday.