Peralta homers; drives in 4 in Cleveland win.
Shhh. Don’t look now, but the Indians are knocking on the door of Chicago’s division lead. In two calendar days the Indians have leaped over Detroit, Kansas City and Minnesota for sole possession of second place. They are 2 games behind the White Sox, and took the first step towards a series win against the Yankees with a 6-4 win Friday night.
I’m glad I got to see it, because you really have to go beyond the boxscore to appreciate this one. The Indians buckled down against Andy Pettite and really made him work, especially with two outs. The Indians collected 6 hits and drew 3 walks off the lefty with two outs! Peralta had 2 RBI hits with 2 men down, including a three run shot in the 5th. Franklyn Gutierrez followed Jhonny’s lead with a shot high up the bleachers on a 3-1 count. They chased Pettite after 5 innings and 99 pitches. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 of those pitches were thrown after two men were out. That is a great job of being patient and taking advantage of what you are given. Both Tribe homers were on mistake pitches.
The offense kept the pressure up after Billy Traber entered the game, making him throw 31 pitches in his inning of work, and getting an insurance run, also scored with two out, driven in by Jamey Carroll. Carroll continues to shine when given the opportunity, going 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 stolen bases in this one. Grady added a swipe, as the Indians took advantage of Posada’s sore throwing arm, and slow deliveries to the plate.
Paul Byrd was ok, so long as he wasn’t pitching to Jason Giambi who blasted 2 no doubt homers off the Tribe starter. Matsui also homered off Byrd, who went 5.2 innings and allowed all 4 of New York’s runs. Rafael Perez looking like the same Perez that dominated the regular season last year, going 2.1 innings while throwing a mere 23 pitches. Raffy left gave way to Raffy right as Betancourt baffled the Yanks in the ninth to record his second save in as many days.
You know, I really don’t care if Borowski ever comes back. Having Betancourt stroll in for the ninth was such a different feeling than seeing Borowski stumble around the mound. Yeah, I know it’s only his second opportunity. So what? Didn’t he prove enough last year? And the way he got the heart of the Yankee line-up out was impressive. A-Rod was given a steady diet of fastballs in on his hands, and Betancourt got him to pop up harmlessly on the infield. Hideki Matsui looked absolutely silly swinging about a second ahead of 3 straight change-ups. Posada hit a harmless fly to center to end it. Three outs. Nine pitches. No drama.
Jamey Carroll is earning some respect with me. He is the absolute professional that the Indians were hoping that they were getting from Barfield. Now, I think Cabrera still has Carroll on potential, but having Carroll on the bench is a nice relief. He is the kind of utility player that makes a difference. He gives the Tribe an edge on the bench. Now if the starters can get an edge on a regular basis we’ll have something!