Indians 3, White Sox 2: Giambi finishes Sox off with one swing

Jason GiambiIt is the worst kept secret in Cleveland baseball circles. Jason Giambi is how radio play by play man Tom Hamilton described him last night: The most popular player in the clubhouse.

As he trotted around the bases in what had to be one of the most vindicating and fun moments of his long Major League Career, Giambi’s teammates waited for him at home plate like a group of giddy fraternity brothers. You could see the joy in their faces from a mile away. It was tough to tell who the moment meant more to – the players awaiting his arrival or Giambi himself.

“Big G means so much to the ballclub, on and off the field,” Swisher said. “That’s why, when he does what he just did, the party’s off the charts.”

And what a party it was as he crossed home plate. Giambi stepped up in a tie ball game to pinch hit for Mark Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth. Chicago’s Ramon Troncoso had faced Giambi once before and was taken deep. This time, the solo blast to centerโ€”a 424-foot shotโ€”sent everybody home happy, including yours truly. The 42-year old was mobbed by his teammates and seemed to get a hug from everyone on the team, highlighted by his manager, Terry Francona, who received a giant pick up bear hug from one of his all time favorites. Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles then doused Big G with a cold water shower during his postgame interview.

“I might catch pneumonia,” he joked. “I’m a little old to be dunked with water. I love it. I’ve been preaching all year one guy is not more important than another and it’s going to take all 25 of us, even more than that, to win ballgames and we’ve done it all year. It’s just exciting to be a part of it.”

Check out the video here – there are three calls – STO’s Matt Underwood is first, Hamilton’s next, and then Sox play-by-play and all-time homer Hawk Harrelson’s come last. Watch the celebrations over and over. Being a Major League Baseball player does not suck.

The walkoff blast ended a pitchers duel between Chicago’s John Danks and the Tribe’s Zach McAllister that featured more shoddy defense. Z Mac was making his second start since coming off of the disabled list with the finger issue and looked like he had regained his old form. He pounded the strike zone all night, putting up zeroes through the first five innings. Danks was matching him, giving up just two hits through six innings, but thanks to two horrific second inning defensive plays by third baseman Conor Gillaspie, the Tribe had runners on second and third with nobody out. After his throwing error on an Asdrubal Cabrera ground out, Ryan Raburn hit a grounder towards Gillaspie at third which he should have scooped. The ball took a strange hop on him but he still should have made the play. Raburn was given a gift double. Cabrera would score on Carlos Santana’s sac fly.

McAllister’s only real problems came in the sixth while holding that one run lead. With two out, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn both doubled, and Paul Konerko’s RBI single to put the Sox on top 2-1. It was far from shocking that Konerko came up with a big hit. The guy should change his name to Larry Dolan because he owns the Tribe. The two runs ended a scoreless string of 25 consecutive innings by Indians pitching.

The good news for Zach was that the offense came right back to tie things in the bottom half of the frame. The inning should have been much bigger though. Danks had been cruising and inexplicably walked both Michael Bourn and Swisher with nobody out on nine pitches. Jason Kipnis then put down a perfectly placed bunt single to load the bases. The Tribe looked like they were in business for a big inning, but they were only able to scratch across one run on Cabrera’s RBI groundout. Cabrera would have been safe if he was running hard the whole way. It was a double play ball off the bat, but the flip from shortstop Alexei Ramirez was high and slow and pulled second baseman Gordon Beckham off the bag. The relay throw barely beat Asdrubal. It was one of two times he was not running hard out of the box – a subject that MUST be addressed. Cabrera has dogged it down the line way too often for my taste.

The rally would die right there as Raburn grounded out to Danks and Santana grounded out to short.

McAllister retired the Sox in order in the seventh, departing after 90 pitches, giving up two runs on five hits.

“I felt confident in the finger again, confident in my stuff,” McAllister said. “It was nice to have gotten the first start out of the way. This was another step in the right direction.’

We would stay tied into the ninth, thanks to a scoreless eighth from Cody Allen and Rich Hill. Hill came on with two out and struck out lefty Adam Dunn with the lead run on second. Ramirez should have never been there to begin with as Allen’s error put him on first and a terrible blown call on a steal attempt moved him into scoring position. Santana’s throw easily beat Ramirez to second and Kipnis applied the tag, yet somehow umpire D.J. Reyburn missed the call.

“I don’t think (Ramirez) was safe,” Francona said. “That would have been a tough one to take. I probably would have gotten thrown out during the next pitching change.”

Chris Perez came on in the ninth and got out unscathed thanks to a terrific running catch with two outs by Michael Brantley in left. That set the stage for Giambi’s heroics. At 42, Jason is now the oldest player in baseball history to hit a walkoff home run.

The win was the Tribe’s fifth straight and with the Tigers having a night off, they moved to within two and a half games of first place. In addition, they are only a half game out of the second wild card spot. This team isn’t going anywhere, especially with the way the starting pitching is going.

“I love how we’re growing and that’s what I keep telling them, we’re growing and we’re going to keep learning and learning and getting better and better,” Giambi said. “Even in the down times we were learning. It’s exciting how it’s all coming together.”

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)ย 


  • Steve

    Just look at how this has played out. Bosch was painted in the media as a scummy, untrustworthy, guy as the new dealer for these athletes. MLB threatens to sue him to gain access to documents they don’t have the privilege of subpoena-ing. MLB pays him off, and promises to indemnify him, and suddenly he’s no longer scummy or untrustworthy. And MLB is seeking punishments that don’t fit what was agreed upon. There is no part of this process that is on the up-and-up. There’s a reason MLB doesn’t want any of these cases to go to the agreed upon arbitration panel, or even worse, the nation’s courts. They have no interest in having to explain themselves to anyone else.

  • Steve

    You aren’t protecting the users over the non-users by pointing out MLB’s scummy tactics in acquiring the documents or demanding that the case be taken to the agreed upon arbitration panel or requiring that the punishment fit what was agreed on in the JDA. That is making the process fair.

    This seems like a criminal case where we “know” the defendant must have done it, so we don’t care that he doesn’t get fair representation.

  • nj0

    In what ways did they throw players to the wolves?

    Outside of some stupid comments to the press which I agree were uncalled for (though I think that was a PR thing – hey, we’re cleaning up baseball!), what exactly do we know about the MLBPA’s involvement in this case? We don’t know what evidence MLB has. We don’t know what kind of deals were cut. We don’t really know anything.

    Personally, I take this as the players and MLBPA circling the wagons because MLB has some really darned good evidence. Seems like public relations 101 – when you know you’re beat, you minimize the punishment and make it seem like you’re on board with it. Take your lumps and live to fight another day.

  • nj0

    I’m not sure exactly what constitutes a suspend-able offense, but I have to imagine that if MLB has evidence that Braun lied in the grievance case, to the league, to the arbiter, etc. that might do it.

    I’ll reserve judgement on A-Rod and the other cases til what actually happens actually happens.

  • mgbode

    you could demand the case be taken to the arbitration panel, but you also are opening up the evidence for more to see in that case and potentially a longer, harsher penalty. there are plenty of cases where the defense team looks at the evidence and decides they should just take the deal. this could very well be such a case, no?

  • mgbode

    “They have no interest in having to explain themselves to anyone else.”

    possibly. such was the case with Goodell and the NFL. however, you are saying the prosecution is guilty of indemnities in this case with no evidence of it? as mentioned above, if the MLBPA is accepting deals, then there’s a good chance it is in the players interest as well.

    it’ll be interesting to see what happens with A-Rod.

  • nj0

    I was about to say the same thing.

    Rushing to judgement about legalese heavy cases steeped in evidence we don’t even know seems pretty dumb.

  • mgbode

    (1) we don’t know what evidence they have on A-Rod. some of the leaked details seem to suggest that it is more of a Lance Armstrong situation (he spear-headed a doping regimen here and recruited other players and may have helped distribute). We’ll see though. Too early.

    (2) pretty sure that they could go after Bruan in the integrity of the game angle if they really wanted to. he failed a test, got past it on a technicality and then lied to MLB, arbiters, and everyone else on his own smear campaign during that time. also, we don’t know what they have on him that wasn’t leaked. maybe nothing, but whatever it was scared Braun (who fought tooth-n-nail the first time) and the MLBPA to accept the deal.

  • mgbode
  • nj0

    The facts behind it are a nice update, but that’s a pretty subjective piece of journalism there…

    “…a fancy way of describing a lowlife who simply is bad for the game.”

    Sheesh! Methinks the amount of outrage directed towards A-Rod is a little much.

  • mgbode

    yes, I agree. also, he uses too many reaching statements:

    “the evidence must be voluminous for baseball to consider”

    especially after the Goodell/bounty thing. But, it was the most recent article that outlined everything.

  • nj0

    Indians trade for LHP Marc Rzepczynski… supposedly gave up milb infielder Juan Herrera…

  • mgbode

    2013 – 7.84 ERA 1.935 WHIP
    This is not the Cardinals trade I was hoping to make.

    (yes, small sample size and such but he’s still a career 4.20ERA/1.4WHIP guy in the NL the last 3 seasons as a reliever)

  • nj0

    Look at his splits though. He’s being brought in to kill LHBs and he seems pretty effective at it.

  • mgbode

    definitely better than against RHB whom he turns into allstars by facing. of course, sample sizes are always an issue when dealing with reliever stats. his outstanding 2011 vs. LHB are making his career splits tilt downwards.

    we’ll see how he does. hopefully, he pans out and I’m willing to judge him on what he does in a Tribe uniform. Just not thrilled off the trade is all.

  • stryker1121

    Wicked Scrabble score from this guy’s name, but I was hoping for something a tad more ambitious than this.

  • nj0

    but for a middling A ball player? i’ll take it. seems like relievers are roll of the dice year-to-year. we needed a lefty in the pen and we added one for next to nothing.

    were you expecting to be thrilled?

  • mgbode

    I guess not. But, the first place I saw it had it listed as:
    Indians make trade with Cardinals.

    With all their prospects and players, he was not the name that was coming to mind ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Steve

    “got past it on a technicality”

    This is the perfect example of the great PR work the owners do in an effort to beat the players in the next CBA negotiation and shows just how clouded some people’s judgment is. Braun didn’t get by on a technicality. The test was severely mishandled and protocol was blatantly ignored. But, as is usual for MLB, they didn’t care for the rules they agreed to follow. They’re more concerned with attacking the players.

  • Steve

    We know they said they aren’t going to defend the players named. And this isn’t circling the wagons, this is kicking guys out of the wagon. Thankfully Marvin Miller can’t hear people think this is the MLBPA circling the wagons.

  • mgbode

    considering that Braun just admitted to doping, I’m going to stick with my “got past it on a technicality” as I now believe that he would have tested positive if the tester followed protocol.

    I also believe he rightfully got past it on the technicality as the tester did not follow protocol and I wasn’t sure it would have been a positive test until his recent admissions.

  • Steve

    Possibly? Look at the history of MLB owners. Ever since the Seitz decision, they’ve gone rogue in trying to take money back from the players, only for the courts to have to put them back in their place.

    I’m not sure where you’re going with the second paragraph. I’m saying that MLB went out of its way to malign Bosch’s name, until they needed him, then brought a frivolous lawsuit into scaring him to take their bribe. The owners have always been some of the scummiest people on the planet, and I have no idea why the majority of people side with them.

  • Steve

    I think it takes some leaps in logic that I’m not sure we should take. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have tested positive, but I think we can’t just assume that.

    If Braun actually would have tested positive in 2011, why would he still be using, and how did he test clean multiple times since then? Braun expected that test to be clean, and he expected future, similar, tests to be clean, whether or not he was using (possibly something undetectable?). I think its more likely that the mishandling of the test did produce a false positive.

  • Steve

    We’ll see what the punishments are, if players start getting suspensions less than 50 games, I can see this, but that just means that we need to rip up the entire JDA, as we’re not going to follow its protocol.

    So far the only punishment is longer than normal for a first time bust, and MLB is seeking the steepest measure possible against Rodriguez. It doesn’t seem like there’s much to be lost by going to arbitration.

  • mgbode

    how did Lance Armstrong never test positive?

    he just admitted to doping. I don’t know what more you want. moving along here.

  • Steve

    Like I suggested, possibly something undetectable. That still doesn’t explain how Braun used something that would have trigged a positive, but decided to keep using it anyway, and then somehow not testing positive.

  • Jaker

    At least we know his D won’t be an issue. A hiccup at most

  • Jaker

    His call in the 13 th inning when Seattle hit a GS to tie is perfect!

    Long drive… And that gone… (Silence)

  • mgbode

    you are better than this steve. he tested positive for elevated testosterone. likely he had mixed some PEDs and gone over the limit. then, after caught, was much more careful to not go so close (or over) that limit that triggers a positive test. this is PED 101 ๐Ÿ™‚