Saturday’s game between the visiting Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees had a little bit of everything in it, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. After trailing by 6 runs, the Tribe came back to beat the Yankees 13 to 11. The emotional comeback was a boost to the struggling Indians who lost their starting pitcher David Huff in the 3rd inning after he was hit on the left side of his head by a Alex Rodriquez line drive in a very scary play.
After the wild 4 hour and 22 minute game, the Indians had two reasons to celebrate. They got a rare victory against the Yankees, but more importantly David Huff just returned to Yankee Stadium from the hospital and was physically fine.
On a sunny day, the game had a normal and familiar feel to it, as the Indians found themselves trailing early. But in the bottom of the 3rd, baseball was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Suddenly, players from both teams and the fans were worried and fearful about the health of David Huff. The line drive struck Huff in the head above the left ear so hard, that is ricocheted all the way to medium right field. Alex Rodriquez got a reluctant RBI double out of it. And after laying motionless near the mound for several minutes, Huff was cautiously strapped onto a stretcher and sent to the hospital. After being evaluated and going through a CT scan at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Huff had astonishingly and thankfully been given a clean bill of health. The 25 year old lefty did not have any memory loss, fractures and had not exhibited any concussion-like symptoms.
Off course the Indians players had to play the rest of the game without knowing how Huff would be. As hard as it was, they stayed focused and the offense woke up and got a dramatic win for their injured pitcher.
In the 4th inning, the Indians scored 3 runs off CC Sabathia to tie the game at 3 apiece. But in the home half of that frame, the wheels came off for relief pitcher Aaron Laffey and the Damn Yankees scored 6 runs to take a 9 to 3 lead. Laffey was extra wild today and could not find the strike zone. Laffey gave up 6 runs, 3 walks, 2 hits and drove in a run by hitting Mark Teixeira with the bags loaded. Manager Manny Acta was looking for long relief from Laffey, but only got 1.1 innings and a lot of aggravation.
But the last place Indians did not give up. The team hung in there and entering the 7th inning the score was 10 to 5 New York. Then the long awaited Cleveland Indians offense exploded. The Indians scored 7 run and batted around in the seventh inning, as it took the Yankees 4 pitchers to get 3 outs. New York desperately looked for the 3rd out of the inning, but the Tribe would score 5 runs with two outs.
Austin Kearns singled home the first run off Damaso Marte to make it a 10 to 6 game. Joba Chamberlain then took the pitching mound. Mark Grudzielanek singled home the next run. Matt LaPorta then walked to load the bases, and you could feel the Indians gaining momentum.
Then up came the struggling rookie catcher Lou Marson, who has hit near .210 all season long. But this was Lou’s day as he hit his 3rd double of the game and drive in 2 more runs. His double to right center field cut the Yankees lead to 10 to 9. By now Tribe fans were believing that something special really could happened. Another unlikely hero drove in the go ahead runs for Cleveland. Rookie short stop Jason Donald hit a 2 run double down the right field line to give the Indians their first lead of the game. Boos rang down from Yankee stadium for Joba Chamberlain, as Trevor Crowe capped the comeback with a single to score Donald, giving a the Indians a 12 to 10 lead.
Chris Perez pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th inning. Kerry Wood gave up 1 run, but was able to close the game out giving the Indians a much deserved 13 to 11 win.
This was a very emotional game and a great comeback for the Indians. Not only winning the game after their teammate was brutally injured, but seeing the young players and the bottom of the order come through really made for an exciting finish. Donald, Marson, LaPorta and Crowe contributed with great at-bats and combined for 8 RBI‘s.
Knowing that David Huff will be OK, allows the team and fans to enjoy this great win.
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