CINCINNATI -- Mike Clevinger needed two calls from Triple-A Columbus manager Chris Tremie to convince the right-hander he was headed to the big leagues.
Then, prior to his major league debut on Wednesday night in Cincinnati, the 25-year old right-hander nearly went to warm up in the wrong bullpen. "Almost," he said, laughing.
After a rough sixth inning denied Clevinger a shot at his first career win, the offense picked him up and Francisco Lindor's home run in the top of the 12th inning lifted the Tribe to an 8-7 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
After Rajai Davis' second home run of the night, a two-run shot, tied the score in the ninth, Lindor went deep on the first pitch from Keyvius Sampson leading off the 12th.
"I'm a small guy, so when I hit them I hope for the best," Lindor said. "It was a long day. Glad we got the 'W'."
Sampson (0-1) took the loss hours after being recalled from Triple-A on Wednesday.
Tony Cingrani's blown save in the ninth on Davis' homer was the ninth for the rebuilding Reds who have only four saves on the year.
"It won't be like this the whole season," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "We did some nice things coming back. You want to win the games you should win. If we did, we'd be right up there with Pittsburgh and St. Louis. It's maddening."
Daniel Otero pitched the bottom of the 12th to earn his first save of the season, second of his career. Cody Allen (1-3) got the win for Cleveland.
Cleveland has won the first three games of the home-and-home interleague series by a combined 36-14 score.
"It's fun to watch everyone having success," said Lindor. "Guys are putting the early work in the cage and BP. Great to see."
Eugenio Suarez hit a three-run home run and Jay Bruce added a pair of solo shots for Cincinnati (15-25), which has won 17 of the past 25 games against the Indians at Great American Ball Park.
"The whole clubhouse has the expectation to come in and prepare every day," said Bruce. "It's tough losing. Our only option is to go forward. We can play better."
The Indians (20-17) led 4-1 on Wednesday before a five-run sixth inning highlighted by Suarez's three-run blast ended Clevinger's day.
"I felt like I had the right pitches but not the right location in those moments," Clevinger said.
After striking out in his first two at-bats against Clevinger, Reds first baseman Joey Votto laced a two-run double to center off the Indians rookie to cut the Indians' lead to 4-3. Clevinger's major league debut was done two batters later.
Suarez, who let a ground ball to go through his legs allowing a run to score in the top of the sixth, atoned for the error with a three-run homer off Zach McAllister to put the Reds ahead 6-4, thus denying Clevinger his first career win.
Clevinger finished with four runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings with a walk and five strikeouts.
"Indescribable," said Clevinger, of his debut.
Bruce started a late Reds' rally by lining a homer to center off Jeff Manship in the eighth. It was his second multi-home run game of the season and 19th of his career.
Reds starter Brandon Finnegan gave up four runs -- three earned -- in 5 2/3 innings.
"Finnegan threw the ball as well as he has all year, stuff-wise, and he didn't walk anybody," said Price.
Francona expected Clevinger to be amped up for his first career start but hoped it wouldn't work against him.
Zack Cozart, who went 3-for-6 with a double, singled on Clevinger's first career pitch, a 95-mph fastball. But, Clevinger fanned Votto for his first career strikeout and escaped his first inning unscathed.
Cleveland had runners on first and second with no outs in the second but managed only one run, on Marlon Byrd's sacrifice fly.
Davis clobbered a 3-2 pitch from Finnegan in the third to put the Indians ahead 2-0.
Clevinger retired eight straight before Bruce hit his seventh homer of the season on the first pitch with two outs in the fourth to make the score 2-1.
It was Bruce's 127th homer at Great American Ball Park, most of any player. Also, it was only the second hit allowed by Clevinger through five innings.
"I thought he was good," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "It was a tight plate. He followed the glove really well. Kept his composure. He's going to only get better with experience."
NOTES: Cleveland recalled RHP Mike Clevinger from Triple-A Columbus before the game and optioned OF Tyler Naquin to Triple-A. ... The Reds optioned INF Jose Peraza and RHP Layne Somsen to Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP Jumbo Diaz. Cincinnati also selected the contract of RHP Keyvius Sampson and transferred RHP Homer Bailey to the 60-day disabled list. ... Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco will make a rehab start Thursday for Class A Lake County, where he's expected to throw two innings and 35 pitches.