Lofton walked home the tying run this time, and the Indians rolled to their 12th win in 15 games. This was one of those games I didn’t expect to win. Carmona was not on tonight, even still, he kept the White Sox from making the score out of hand early. He struck out three straight in the first inning after loading the bases. He did not allow a run until the 5th inning, and left the game after 6, having given up 5.
Down 5-0, with the way Buehrle was pitching, I figured this one was probably not going to go our way. But in the sixth the Indians got 2 back thanks to Gutierrez and Martinez. Fultz came on and pitched two near perfect innings to keep the score the same. The eighth inning was disaster for the Sox.
Ehren Wassermann relieved Buehrle, and actually pitched well, Sizemore singled, but he got Cabrera and Gutierrez out. Fortunately for the Tribe, he was lifted for Mike Myers. Myers walked Hafner, and gave up a single to Victor, which scored Sizemore. Another pitching change. Mike MacDougal came in for Chicago. Now in fairness, the inning should have ended. Ryan Garko hit a grounder to short that should have been an out. But the ball hit the cut of the grass and completely changed direction, bouncing into left field for a hit, scoring Hafner. With that freaky play, everyone knew this was going to be Cleveland’s night. I think the pie guy even started to get ready for the inevitable.
MacDougle fell apart. After he walked Peralta (no easy task) Kenny Lofton was brought in to pinch hit for Michaels. This was total deja vu. It reminded me of the time Albert Belle hit walk-off home runs in consecutive nights to beat Toronto. Lofton walked on 4 straight. MacDougal had thrown 8 consecutive balls and tied the game. Bases were loaded for Casey Blake.
I’ve written on several occasions about my fond nickname for Casey Blake when he steps into the batters box. My wife and I refer to him as death. He earned that nicknamed a few years ago, and it has just stuck with us. Even I’ll admit that his bat has been less ‘death like’ this season, and his play at third base has been outstanding. In this game he had a fantastic dive and roll to get out a batter early in the game. And so as my wife and I sat at the ‘rally table’ and played cards, I watched Casey line a double down the first baseline. Three runs would score, Tribe would win as Betancourt pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
Wait a minute…Betancourt got the save? Yep. Yes I know that Joe had pitched in 3 straight games. I shouldn’t read anything into this decision by Wedge to pitch Betancourt. But…when you saw Rafael come into the game you though the exact same thing I did…this game was over. You haven’t thought that way about Blownski since June. Me neither.
The win, with a Detroit loss pushes our lead in the Central to 5.5 games. In other words, we have a larger division lead than any of the National league teams, and Boston. The only team with a larger lead are the Angels, and their lead is 6.5 games. We are the hottest team in the league, having won 7 games in a row. Let’s keep it up. Maybe we can be the team to make Guillen quit. I say that because after his tirade the other night, I think he might be as close to resigning as the White Sux are to firing him.