Well, he didn’t ride onto the field on a white horse, and he didn’t hit three home runs, but Johnny Damon did play his first game for the Indians yesterday. He didn’t do so hot, going 0 for 3 (he did draw a base on balls, though), and leaving the game in the sixth inning due to “general cramping.”
But that’s OK, because the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox anyway, by a score of 6-3. Five of the Indians’ runs came via the long ball, thanks to a 3-run homer by catcher Carlos Santana in the fifth inning and a 2-run shot by DH Travis Hafner in the ninth. Hitting third in the lineup, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera went 1 for 2 with three walks. Cabrera, Hafner, and Santana, numbers three, four, and five in the lineup, combined to go 5 for 10 with four walks, scoring five runs and tallying five RBIs. That’s the kind of production you want to see from your best hitters, and the Indians needed that kind of production last night, what with the outfielders (Damon, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Brantley, and Shelley Duncan) getting only one hit, a single, in 14 at-bats.
But the timeliest hit of the evening came from third baseman Jack Hannahan, whose two-out double in the eighth inning scored Brantley from second, breaking a 3-3 tie. I know he doesn’t deliver each and every time, but right now, there’s no one on the team I’d rather see come to the plate in a clutch situation than Hanny.
Tribe starter Josh Tomlin pitched decently, allowing three runs, all earned, over six innings. MLB calls that a quality start. I call it a decent one. The Bullpen Mafia took over in the seventh and pitched three scoreless innings. Joe Smith, who struck out three in his sole inning of work (I refuse to say a pitcher “struck out the side” if he gives up a hit or walk, and Smith did give up one base on balls), got the win, his first of the season. Chris Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his eighth save. Since his disastrous stint on Opening Day, Perez has allowed only one run in his last ten appearances, with an ERA of 0.96. I don’t know about you, but I can live with that!
As for Damon, he is expected to play in tonight’s game, and says he intends to take some potassium supplements to help prevent further cramping. Make sure you do that, Johnny, ‘k?