Sometimes, the numbers are completely inconsequential. For the Indians, Jason Giambi’s experience and clubhouse presence might as well make him Yoda.
And tonight, Yoda carried a very loud lightsaber.
Pinch-hitting to lead off on the bottom of the ninth, all it took was three pitches from the White Sox’s Ramon Troncoso for the venerable greybeard to harken back to his younger years. The Giambino launched a no-doubter line-drive into the mini-forest behind the centerfield wall, which propelled the Tribe to a tough 3-2 win against the Pale Hose. It also brought the Tribe to just 2.5 games back of the Tigers in the division and just a half-game behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot.
Zach McAllister (7 INN/2 ER/2 SO/1 BB) was his usual steady self, as was long-time Tribe nemesis John Danks (6 INN/2 R (1 ER)/3 SO/4BB) who turned in one of his better starts of the season. Both men earned a no-decision for their strong efforts.
Don’t be fooled by the two errors on the Tribe’s line. Because defense played as big of a part in tonight’s victory as Giambi’s heroics did.
In the top of the ninth, Connor Gillaspie, a thorn in the Tribe’s side all season, lined a rocket that was snagged by Asdrubal Cabrera. This was a big out, because one batter later, Ryan Raburn, who shifted over from right- to left left-field at the top of the inning, played a liner from Dayan Viciedo into a triple. Only Michael Bourn’s hustle from center kept it from being a game-tying inside-the-park homer.
Gordon Beckham would then test Michael Brantley with a rocket over his head that somehow stuck in his glove.
Crisis averted. And mere moments later, a celebratory mob.
W: Chris Perez (3-1); L: Ramon Trancoso (1-3)
Player of the Game: Jason Giambi