Indians 9, Padres 5 (box)
This one may not have ended until close to 1:30am, but it started and ended with Grady Sizemore. Leading off the game with a home run, Sizemore had to wait about six hours before he put the final nail in last night’s coffin – a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh inning that would give the Tribe all it needed to earn a “W.”
And earned it was, considering that Eric Wedge had to go to one of the shakiest bullpens in the majors from the fifth inning on. Rafael Betancourt (who actually earned the win in this one) tossed one and two-thirds of one-hit ball, looking like the Rafy from last year. Fellow Rafy, Perez, allowed a solo home run, but that would only be one of two hits he would surrender in an inning and two-thirds as well.
In discussing the bullpen, Eric Wedge had the following to say:
“They were the separators for us tonight. You talk about having to go to the bullpen in the fifth inning, when you’re down … that was very big for us.”
Big indeed. Of course, it helps when your bats can put up double-digit hits for the second game in a row. I’ll temper my emotions in trying to declare this the turnaround point. However, consider that the next three series (San Deigo, Colorado, Los Angeles Dodgers) are all against teams with below .500 winning percentages – this bout of interleague play is absolutely huge for us.
The White Sox came back and won last night, so we still stand at 6.5 games back. But once you consider history (as laid out by Rock earlier this week), things may not seem so bad.
And just as a statistical “FYI” for all of you guys, Sizemore is now tied for second in the AL with 16 home runs – two behind the Rangers Josh Hamilton. Here’s a video of his shot in the seventh. “No doubter” is right.