The Indians trio performed much the way that they have all season- there was a scorless inning of work by C.C. Sabathia, a two-run homer by Victor, (off Billy Wagner by the way!) and Sizemore struck out. That about sums up the first half don’t you think? Turns out that homer was pretty important because the ninth inning got hairy.
J.J. Putz gave up two runs, and walked a batter before Leyland pulled him for Angels’ closer Francisco Rodriguez. Not that he did a lot better, throwing breaking balls in the dirt at an alarming rate, but he got Rowand to fly out to end the game. I suppose everyone will be asking LaRussa why he didn’t pinch-hit with Albert Pujols in the ninth. It’s a fair question. With men on first and second and Orlando Hudson coming up with two outs, Pujols certainly could have hit, but that was Hudson’s first at bat. That would have been a little bush league if you ask me. Hudson is an all star, and it would be tough to justify taking the bat out of his hands, especially since he is a switch hitter. But Hudson walked. That loaded the bases and brought up Rowand, who had hit once already.
LaRussa said he was saving Pujols for an emergency-type situation. Um, you were down by one, bases loaded with two outs in the ninth. If he gets a hit, two runs will score and the game is over. If he doesn’t get a hit, the game is over. Pujols was the only NL batter left on the bench. Not really brilliant strategy there Tony.
(Home field, and Martinez discussed after the jump)