Covering the Bases: Game 22

Final:

Indians 6, White Sox 3

FIRST: At some point, opposing teams will learn that Jack Hannahan is not the same hitter he was in years past. At the very least, he is not currently the same light-hitting ballplayer he was in the past. It’s a long season, and things may even out when it’s all said and done, but Hannahan is one of the American League’s top hitters right now.

When the White Sox pulled lefty Will Ohman in favor of righty Addison Reed to face Hannahan in the eighth inning, when the game was stil caught in a 3-3 tie, things were stacked heavily in the Tribe’s favor.

Right-hander on the mound? Check. Hannahan has hit .340 (16-for-47) off righties this year. Runners in scoring position? Check. He’s hit .500 (9-for-18) with 15 RBIs in such scenarios. Two outs? Check. Hannahan has hit .615 (8-for-13) with 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Why should anyone be surprised he delivered an RBI, go-ahead double?

SECOND: Veteran Johnny Damon made his Indians debut on Wednesday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. He also left the game after the top of the sixth inning, setting of a few red flags. It turnes out Damon came down with some “general cramping,” which in turn led to some “general joking” in the press box. Damon said that description was accurate, though. There was no one specific thing that flared up. He had tightness in his hands, legs and back. After training for two weeks in Arizona’s dry conditions, Damon felt the humidity and dehydration were to blame. Manager Manny Acta said Damon should be fine for Thursday’s game. Damon agreed.

THIRD: Starter Josh Tomlin gave the Indians six solid innings and was pulled after 82 pitches. That’s nothing new. Acta turned the game over to The Bullpen Mafia, which has been sharp as it has been all season. Joe Smith, Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez teamed for 3 shoutout innings with 4 strikeouts, 1 walk and 1 hit allowed. The bullpen has 15 2/3 shutout innings in a row over the past five games with 16 strikeouts and a .067 (3-for-45) opponents’ batting average over that stretch.

One play that should not be lost in the shuffle was Pestano’s strikeout to end the eighth inning. On the play, catcher Carlos Santana picked the ball out of the dirt and came up throwing, cutting down would-be basestealer Brent Lillibridge at second base for a big double play.

HOME: The Indians have found that power stroke that went missing for 11 games from April 19 through Sunday. Duncan broke the 11-game homer drought with a blast on Tuesday and both Santana and Travis Hafner cleared the fence on Wednesday. Santana belted a three-run homer in the fifth and Pronk added a two-run shot in the ninth. Hafner was on the right knee with a pitch in the third inning and looked to be hobbled some for the remainder of the game. Acta quipped that Hafner should stick to hitting home runs so he only has to trot. Kidding aside, Hafner will be re-evaluated on Thursday to see how his leg feels a day after the bruising. No word yet on how that baseball he hit is feeling.

On deck:

Indians (12-10) at White Sox (12-12)
at 8:10 p.m. ET on Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field

–JB

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