I watched/listened to the Indians game last night in between bouts of drinking and eating (and drinking) with some old friends. Every time it seemed the Indians were close to a rally, it failed after a run or two. We scraped together a run or two here and there, and 3 in the 8th, but Toronto outdid us, with a final score of 11-7. Big-run deficits are funny things. Sometimes they disappear faster than a politician’s promises after election day. Sometimes they linger.
Thursday’s great come-from-behind victory on that walk-off grand slam by Travis Hafner (or, as he’s known in our house, Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret) was one of those rare occasions when everything lines up in the right place–bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, the right batter, the right pitch, the right swing. Boom. As I listened to the final inning of last night’s game on the drive home, I kept thinking “Please, just one more hit, just one more hit…” And it didn’t happen. It just wasn’t the Indians’ night for magic. Apparently last night the Run-Deficit Fairy landed in the Chicago Cubs’ dugout, as they came back from an 8-run deficit to beat the Nationals 10-9. (Yeah, it’s only the Nationals, but that’s still a big gap to overcome.)
One of my favorite Indians games of all time was August 5, 2001, when they came back from a 12-run deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners in 11 innings. It was only the third time in major league history a team had done so. I remember watching that game with my husband and flipping out when they won it. They just kept chipping away at the Mariners’ lead, scoring 2 runs in the 4th, 3 in the 7th, 4 in the 8th, and 5 in the 9th to tie it up, and finally scoring the winning run in extra innings. Can you imagine losing a game after having a 12-run lead? Oddly enough, one of the two other instances of a team coming back to win after a 12-run deficit was June 15, 2925, when the Philadelphia Athletics scored 13 runs in the 8th inning to beat the Cleveland Indians, who had been up by as many as 12 runs. The final score was 17-15. (The other instance was June 18, 1911, when the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox, 16-15).
So it can happen; it just didn’t happen last night. We have two more chances to beat the Blue Jays before the All-Star break. My five-year-old knows all about fairies. I’ll ask her what we need to do to conjure up the Run-Deficit Fairy in the Indians dugout, just in case we need it.