Paul Byrd wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to get the Indians to their bread and butter relievers with the lead. Byrd allowed base runners, but got the big outs when he needed them most. The Tribe took advantage of Wang, touching him up officially for 4 earned runs, while only getting 3 outs. Torre was forced to go with Mike Mussina, and the Indians worked 4 walks and 4 hits off him in his 4.2 innings of work, scoring 2 more off the aging vet. Perez pitched two strong innings, allowing a solo homer, and Betancourt absolutely shut down the Yankees in the eighth. Borowski, as he usually does, made things interesting in the ninth. He gave up a solo homer and had a 400 bomb cross a few feet on the Tribe side of the foul pole. He finished the game off however, and the Tribe will meet Boston in the ALCS!
Peralta was 3 for 4 for the game, with a key rbi single in the first. He finished the series batting .467, a team best for the regulars. Shoppach had a nice game tonight, going 2 for 3 and scoring a run. That has to give Eric Wedge a certain sense of satisfaction. He stayed with the game plan and it worked out for him tonight. Kenny Lofton who started the series on fire cooled down a bit, going 0-5 tonight, finishing at .375 for the series. It was team MVP Victor Martinez that had the hit of the night, a 2 rbi single in the 4th, that put the Tribe up for good.
The Indians proved that the regular season numbers don’t guarantee post-season success. Here’s hoping that trend continues into the ALCS against a very tough Boston team.