Johnson Three Homer Night Sends Tribe to Offseason; White Sox 9, Indians 0
By Evan Matsumoto
There was no dog pile on the infield; there was no champagne flowing in the clubhouse. After Wednesday night’s game against the White Sox, fans quietly filed out and the lights went dark on another season in Cleveland.
And as they say in Cleveland, there’s always next year.
Cleveland sent David Huff to start the game against Chicago’s Gavin Floyd and ended up on the losing end of a five-homerun, 9-0 game. Huff started on the mound for the Tribe. Heading into the night’s game, he was 3-0 in six appearances, boasting a 2.86 ERA.
Chicago’s Dan Johnson kicked off the scoring in the second inning with a two-run shot to the centerfield seats to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead.
While the Tribe bats stayed quiet through the third, the Sox tacked on a third run in the top of the fourth. Dayan Viciedo doubled to deep left and into scoring position. Hector Gimenez brought him home on a choppy single to center.
Ray Olmedo led off the fifth frame with a single that stretched into a double when Lonnie Chisenhall airmailed his throw into the camera well behind first base. Two outs later, Paul Konerko teed off on a 90-mile-per-hour heater that ended up in the concession stand on the homerun deck.
After another two-out hit by Viciedo, Johnson hit his second homer of the ballgame, the second two-out, two-runner of the inning, which ballooned the Sox’s lead 7-0. Huff gave up two more singles in the inning before being relieved by Tony Sipp—his 63rd appearance of the season—who finally ended the inning by striking out Jordan Danks. Huff ends his season 3-1 and a 3.38 ERA.
Jason Kipnis poked just the second Indians’ hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, a one-out single to right. Following Kipnis, Chisenhall grounded out to first and Russ Canzler flied out to center to end the inning.
Chris Seddon relieved Sipp in the seventh inning. Seddon gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out but Olmedo grounded into a double play to stop the Sox from adding to their lead.
Travis Hafner blooped his first hit of the game into shallow left in the bottom of the seventh. Cord Phelps followed with a fly out to center. Like Kipnis in the previous inning, however, Hafner was stranded on base after Jack Hannahan grounded into a double play.
Chicago’s starter, Floyd, pitched 7.0 innings, racked up six strikeouts, only two walks and gave up only three hits. He finished the season 12-11.
In the eighth inning the Tribe’s bats woke up. Shin-Soo Choo extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single to center and was followed by a double from Kipnis. However, the thrill of a run was killed when Chisenhall grounded into the final out of the inning, stranding a pair of runners.
Viciedo hit his 25th homerun of the season, third homerun of the series, and third hit of the game in the top of the ninth off Vinnie Pestano. Dan Johnson one-upped Viciedo, though, when he smoked his third homerun of the night, making Chicago’s lead 9-0.
The final three outs of the game and the season came in order and finally brought an end to a season that was nothing short of disappointing for Cleveland.
Eight of the White Sox’s nine runs were due to homeruns, with two innings, the fifth and seventh, producing a pair of homers each. The Sox hit 210 homers on the season.
What started as a promising season in Cleveland, quickly turned to frustration after the All-Star break. The Tribe spent 56 consecutive days in first or second place from April 24 to July 14—they held a 4.0 game first place lead on May 17. After that, though, the club went 46-78, finishing the season 20 games behind the playoff-bound Detroit Tigers.
Cleveland finishes the season with the outright possession of fourth place in the A.L. Central and a 68-94 (.422) record, the second lowest winning percentage in all of baseball, ahead of only the Minnesota Twins (.410).
The Indians will open up the 2013 season on the road at Toronto on April 2.
Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak