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Rays-Indians: Tribe Rallies in Ninth to Cap Amazing Comeback

CLEVELAND - MARCH 31:  First baseman Ryan Garko #25 of the Cleveland Indians hits a single during the second inning of their Opening Day game against the Chicago White Sox on March 31, 2008 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ryan MaceContributor IMay 27, 2009

It was one for the ages.

It looked like another night of the Indians getting pounded when I flipped on the Indians game Monday night.

10-0 Rays.

I couldn't take it anymore. The Indians have had my support all year and I have gotten no satisfaction...

But while I was watching the Lakers-Nuggets game, something was brewing at Progressive Field. A comeback for the ages.

Fausto Carmona had an awful start. 1.1 innings pitched, 5 earned on 3 hits and 5 walks. He threw 60 pitches. Jensen Lewis came in relief, throwing 1.2 innings and also giving up 5 earned on 3 hits, but only 2 walks came from Jensen.

Then they brought in Jeremy Sowers. 5 solid innings of work, 3 hits, 0 earned runs.

Entering the bottom of the eighth, the Indians had a seemingly insurmountable lead to overcome, if they wanted a Memorial Day win.

With maybe 2,500 to 3,000 fans left in the stadium, and that's being generous, the Tribe began their comeback.

Rookie relief pitcher Dale Thayer came in for the Rays in relief of Joe Nelson.

Shin-Soo Choo lead off the inning with a base knock. Mark DeRosa and Ryan Garko followed with singles of their own, bringing up rookie Matt LaPorta. After LaPorta grounded into a, potentially, rally-killing double play, Ben Fransisco came in and produced an infield single, scoring DeRosa.

The Tribe now had a 10-4 hill to climb in the bottom of the ninth.

Now let's get to the real fun.

The inning lead off with a Grady Sizemore walk, followed by a Victor Martinez pop-out. Then, Jhonny Peralta had a base hit, leading to a Tampa Bay pitching change. The new victim was left-hander Randy Choate.

Shin-Soo Choo hit a double play ball to shortstop Reid Brignac that would have ended the game, except the rookie threw the ball wide of second. Sizemore scored, Peralta moved to third and Choo was safe at first.  Maddon again went to his bullpen—now it was Grant Balfour. Now the Tribe had something to believe in.

With a 10-5 game and runners on, DeRosa lined out. The real spark was yet to come. With the Indians down to their last out, Ryan Garko sent his second bomb of the night into the left field bleachers, a three-run shot.

We now had a 10-8 ballgame.

Asdrubal Cabrera was now up, pinch hitting for rookie Matt LaPorta. He walked on four pitches. That was all for Balfour. Next up, closer Jason Isringhausen.

Isringhausen's first assignment was Ben Fransisco; he walked on four pitches. Jamey Carrol followed with a walk of his own and the bases were now loaded for Grady Sizemore. Isringhausen took Grady to a full count, but ended up walking him as well. This forced in a run, making it 10-9, and bringing up the 0-5 Victor Martinez.

He knew he was due.

After taking a few pitches and ending up with a 2-2 count, Victor made his swing count. He took it right back up the middle and into center field, making the unsung hero, Jeremy Sowers, the winning pitcher. Fransisco and Carrol scored and immediately took off for Victor Martinez. 

There was jubilation at Progressive Field for the first time in a while, and I was certainly able to enjoy it to the fullest.

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