Tribe Steals Late Inning Victory From Chicago; Indians 4, White Sox 3
By Mike Brandyberry
Sometimes good isn’t good enough.
Jake Peavy pitched eight strong innings, but two pinch hits—including a Travis Hafner home run—helped tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Indians and Jason Donald’s two-out base hit in the 12th inning gave the Indians a win, 4-3. The late inning heroics stole the game and foiled a well-pitched game by Peavy.
“It was a good game,” Interim Manager Sandy Alomar said. “The bullpen did an excellent job. These extra inning games are taking a toll on them, but they keep doing a good job.”
Cleveland cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning when Choo hit the first pitch off Peavy, 428-feet and into the right field seats for his 16th home run of the season and giving the Tribe a 1-0 lead. Choo’s bomb was the first hit of the game for the Tribe and wrecked Peavy’s three perfect innings. For Choo it was his 12th straight game with a hit, tying a career high.
The White Sox finally got to Justin Masterson in the top of the sixth inning. After retiring the first hitter, Dewayne Wise doubled down the left field line. Orlando Hudson followed with a bloop single to center field to drive in Wise under Carlos Santana’s tag at the plate and deadlock the game at one run a piece.
“This last start put everything where we wanted to put it and this last start kind of put things together so next year hopefully we can get back to slicing and dicing,” Masterson said.
The one run ended Masterson’s evening after 99 pitches and six innings of work. He allowed four hits, one walk and five strike outs, while allowing just lone run in his final inning of the season.
“He had a good sinker today,” Alomar said. “He kept the hitters off balance and threw a lot of ground balls today. We wanted him to finish with a good performance.”
Joe Smith came on in relief of Masterson and worked a three up, three down seventh inning and Vinnie Pestano worked a scoreless eighth inning, but with some dramatics. After an out was recorded Ray Olmedo singled up the middle before Wise flied out to right field.
Meanwhile Peavy continued to cruise through the Tribe order. He allowed a walk to Jason Kipnis in the bottom of the seventh, but Asdrubal Cabrera hit into a double play to erase any scoring threat. Kipnis was only the second runner to reach base.
With two outs, Orlando Hudson chopped a ball down the third base line that Pestano bare-handed and threw to first base. The throw pulled first baseman Casey Kotchman off the bag, but Kotchman believed he made the tag before Hudson reached the base. Interim Manager Sandy Alomar argued to the call, but to no avail. Alomar did receive chants of, “Sandy,” while on the field and a standing ovation as he trotted back to the dugout.
Chicago put the Indians to bed in the top of the ninth inning against Chris Perez, however. Perez walked Dan Johnson, who was removed for Jose Lopez as a pinch runner, to lead off the inning. But, Dayan Viciedo hit a 426-foot home run to deep center field and into the first row of bushes next to the Indians dugout, giving the White Sox a 3-1 lead.
But the Tribe answered back when Michael Brantley pinch-hit for Brent Lillibridge to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Brantley singled to center field before being removed for pinch runner Jason Donald. Brantley is still nursing a sore groin. Cleveland followed with another pinch hitter and Travis Hafner delivered a home run off the right field foul pole for a game-tying home run.
The home run was Hafner’s 200th shot as an Indian and 201st of his career. Hafner’s only home run not in an Indians uniform was his first and was against the Tribe.
“We were waiting for the right opportunity to put Hafner in there,” Alomar said. “That was the perfect opportunity because they couldn’t walk him. Hafner came in and came through.”
Hafner’s home run also ended the inning for Peavy, who allowed only three hits, but two home runs in over eight innings of work. He allowed only one walk to go with the three base hits on 109 pitches. Hafner’s bomb wrecked what was Peavy’s best outing of the season. It could have been Hafner’s final at bat as an Indian as the team holds a $13 million option for 2013.
Donnie Veal relieved Peavy and struck out Choo before Kipnis singled to right field. White Sox Manager Robin Ventura removed Veal for Brett Myers who threw a pickoff attempt wide of first base and allowed Kipnis to advance to second base with one out. Myers struck out Cabrera on a high curveball to retire the second out of the inning.
However, Santana hit a slow roller to shortstop that Alexei Ramirez who couldn’t get enough on the throw to beat the runner and keep the inning alive. Lonnie Chisenhall popped up to first base to end the inning and keep the game deadlocked at three after nine innings.
Scott Barnes worked a scoreless 10th inning and Esmil Rogers struck out two in the 11th inning, while the Tribe left another runner in the scoring position between the two scoreless half innings. Chris Seddon came on and kept the game deadlocked in the top of the 12th inning.
Cleveland finally was able to steal the win in the bottom of the 12th inning when Chisenhall doubled down the left field line with one out. After Russ Canzler was intentionally walked, Jack Hannahan struck out for the second out before Jason Donald singled to left field to score Chisenhall and give the Tribe their sixth walkoff win of the year. It was their third walkoff win since September 16.
“I was looking for a heater,” Donald said. “The guy throws 98. If you look for anything else you’re done. He left a slider up and I was able to get a good swing on it.”
“The guys are battling out there,” Alomar said. “I’m very proud of them. Even when we don’t win games, they’re trying and that’s what you ask of them, to have pride in baseball.”
Tomorrow, both teams wrap up the season when David Huff (3-0, 2.86 ERA) will make the final start of the season for the Tribe, while Chicago sends Gavin Floyd (11-11, 4.47 ERA) to the mound to end the 2012 season. Game time slated 7:05 pm at Progressive Field.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images