Created on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 Written by JIM INGRAHAM jingraham@MorningJournal.com @jitribeinsider,writer
CLEVELAND — Ok, now it’s starting to get silly.
NOBODY wins games like this. It just doesn’t happen. It can’t happen.
Evidently it can. It happened Monday. Stop rubbing your eyes.
The Indians’ three best relievers each gave up home runs in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, but the Indians still won the game on, of all things, a walkoff three-run home run from, of all people, their backup catcher - his second home run of the game.
How many get-out-of-here’s! can you jam into one game, right?
Final score: Cleveland 10 Seattle 8, Logic 0.
One of the weirdest games you’ve ever seen?
“Yeah,” said Tribe manager Terry Francona, whose team has won five in a row. “It’s not often you see your opponents score in three straight innings at the end of the game but you still win. That was. . . interesting.”
It was nuts. That’s what it was. Nuts.
But there was Yan Gomes, after hitting one Yander, circling the bases with the Indians’ third walkoff win in four days, two of them home runs, while the bumbling, stumbling, fumbling Mariners _ three errors total, one in each of the last two innings _ staggering off the field, the four-game Cleveland sweep complete.
“I was just trying to make sure I touched all the bases, and got back to my teammates,” said Gomes. “I just looked at the replay. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. All I was thinking was, ‘Finally, this game is done’.”
There is lots of season still to go, but the Indians probably won’t play a more outrageous game than this one, when they either won the game, or merely let the Mariners lose it.
Probably a little of both.
First Vinnie Pestano, with the Indians leading 6-5, gave up a home run to Kyle Seager in the eighth inning.
Then, with the score 6-6, Chris Perez gave up a pinch hit home run to Endy Chavez in the ninth inning.
Then, with the score 7-7, Joe Smith gave up a home run to Justin Smoak in the 10th inning.
“(BLEEP)!” barked Smith loud enough to be heard throughout the ballpark, while Smoak’s home run ball was still in the air.
A bad day all around for the Bullpen Mafia.
“Today was a bad day for us,” said Pestano. “I came back to the dugout and told the guys, ‘Pick me up’, and they did. These guys fight until the last out is made.”
Smoak’s home run gave Seattle an 8-7 lead. But these first place Indians have been there and done that before.
So in the bottom of the 10th Michael Brantley singled off lefty reliever Charlie Furbush. Then Smoak dropped a throw from Furbush on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Drew Stubbs, and the Indians had runners at first and second and no outs.
The batter was Gomes, who belted a solo home run right behind Ryan Raburn’s three-run shot in the Tribe’s four-run second inning.
The bunt was still in order, so that’s what Gomes tried to do. He failed at his sacrifice bunt - even after the bunt sign was taken off.
“I didn’t see them take the bunt sign off so I tried it a couple times after they took it off,” said Gomes. “Then they (third base coach Brad Mills) called me over and said they wanted me to swing.”
So Gomes swung - and the Indians won.
It was a 3-2 pitch from Furbush.
“I was looking fastball. If he throws me a slider there I tip my hat,” said Gomes. “He’s got to get me because he doesn’t want the bases loaded with no outs.”
The fastball came in, and Gomes hit it out.
It should have been ballgame with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the Mariners leading 7-6. The Indians had runners at second and third and Carlos Santana’s ground ball was fielded by Smoak at first, who flipped it to closer Tom Wilhelmsen for what should have been the game-ending out.
Wilhelmsen dropped the ball.
“A perfect throw. I just took my eyes off it,” he said.
Santana was safe on the error and Jason Kipnis, the runner at third, scored the tying run.
“We weren’t able to finish things off,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
The Indians were - finally - and baseball’s hottest team remains baseball’s hottest team.
They are 21-7 since April 20 and have a 2 ½ game lead over the second place Detroit Tigers, who will visit Progressive Field for a two-game series starting Tuesday night.
Bring your own pacemaker.