Covering the Bases: Game 3
Indians 4, Blue Jays 3
FIRST: Feliz cumpleanos, Carlos Santana. The man loves him some birthday cake. In Sunday’s win over the Blue Jays, the birthday boy slammed two home runs and collected three RBIs in a 2-for-4 showing.
We should’ve expected this. As it happens, Santana has hit .556 (10-for-18) with five home runs and 13 RBIs combined over his past four birthdays (including performances at Double-A in ’09 and Triple-A in ’10).
His teammates should stop saying hello and start greeting him with “Happy birthday” when he arrives to the ballpark each day. Or, maybe Indians fans should sing “Happy birthday” to him before each of his plate appearances. Just a thought.
SECOND: Three games a season does not make, but boy those starters have been dealing. Combined, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Derek Lowe have allowed just three earned runs on eight hits over 22 innings. That’s a 1.23 ERA to this point. Lowe was the latest to turn in a gem with seven strong against Toronto on Sunday. He allowed two unearned runs on five hits en route to a win.
Josh Tomlin is up next and he wants to keep thing rolling.
“Absolutely,” Tomlin said. “You have that anxiety to get out there and get that first one out of the way, for sure. But, seeing what those guys did the first three games, it’s pretty unbelievable how well they’ve pitched. You want to go out there and mimic that. It’s almost like a competition. You don’t want to go out there and say, ‘I want to do better than those guys,’ but you kind of do. You want to go out there just because of how well they did pitch.
“It’s hard to go out there and do that — what they’ve been doing. They’ve all pitched well enough to keep us in the game every single time and that’s our job, to go out there, pitch deep in games and give us a chance to win. If we can keep this up all year long, that’d be something we can kind of hang our hats on. I’m definitely going to try to go out there and mimic kind of what they’re doing. That’s all you can do, give it your best and shoot for what they’ve done.”
THIRD: Anyone who criticizes closer Chris Perez for his latest outing wasn’t paying attention. Yes, CP gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but then he created a flyout off the bat of Colby Rasmus and induced a would-be game-ending doubleplay grounder from Ben Francisco. Had shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera not booted that ball, Perez would not have thrown another pitch. And, to CP’s credit, he didn’t let the error derail his outing. He struck out Yunel Escobar, walked Kelly Johnson and got Jose Bautista to flyout to end the game with the bases loaded. That was a well-earned save after some unnecessary drama created by an unfortunate error.
HOME: Perez gets the save, but don’t forget the work Vinnie Pestano did to help the Tribe reach that point. In the eighth inning, sidearmer Joe Smith gave up three straight hits to allow one run to score, cutting Cleveland’s lead to 4-3. With one out, Pestano entered with runners on first and second. He struck out Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie to escape further damage. That was a critical moment in the game.
Shoot, if not for Pestano’s performance there, we might’ve had another extra-inning marathon on our hands.
Chicago White Sox (1-1)* at Cleveland Indians (1-2)
7:05 p.m. ET Monday at Progressive Field
*Record doesn’t include late game Sunday night