Indians 10, Tigers 6
Crisp, a late replacement in Cleveland’s lineup Tuesday night, hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs to help the Indians outlast the Detroit Tigers 10-6.
His playing time recently cut with the arrival of heralded rookie Grady Sizemore, Crisp only started in left field and at leadoff when Travis Hafner was scratched with a sprained neck and Matt Lawton moved to designated hitter.
“If things work out, then someday maybe I’ll be a starter,” Crisp said, shrugging his shoulders. “That’s the way it’s been my whole life. You have to hang in there.”
Crisp hit his first career grand slam in the second inning off Gary Knotts (5-6) and added a RBI single in the fifth, giving the Indians an 8-4 lead.
The speedy outfielder went 3-for-5, scored twice and also saved at least one run in the second with a leaping catch against the left-field wall, scaling it like Spider-Man.
“I was going to throw out my web, but my web shooter was gone,” he said, smiling. “So I had to jump for it. That’s a 63-inch vertical jump right there.”
C.C. Sabathia (7-5) struggled through six innings for just his second win in six starts, and his 50th career victory. The All-Star left-hander allowed five runs and six hits with three walks while improving to 8-2 in 13 career starts against Detroit.
“I’ll give myself a B-minus,” said Sabathia, overly critical of his outing. “It’s only not an F because we scored all those runs.”
Ben Broussard homered for the Indians (51-50), who moved back over .500 for the second time this season.
On a night he expected to watch from the bench, Crisp became the game’s biggest star instead. He wasted little time in making his presence felt, too.
With a runner at first and two outs in the second, Nook Logan hit a drive to deep left that Crisp snared by perfectly timing his jump against the padded wall.
“I thought the ball was gone at first,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “He’s very athletic and has great speed. He timed it just right.”
Crisp, who has been overshadowed by Sizemore and had to share playing time with Alex Escobar earlier this year, then capped Cleveland’s five-run second off Knotts with his slam into the Tigers’ bullpen.
Casey Blake doubled with one out and went to third on Jody Gerut’s infield single. Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, thinking Gerut was stealing second, threw wildly into center field on ball four to Ronnie Belliard and Blake scored.
Sizemore was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Crisp, who snapped an 0-for-15 slump with his seventh homer—and the third grand slam by the Indians this season—to make it 5-1.
“I didn’t know how they categorize him,” Trammell said of Crisp, “but he’s a starter in my book.”
The Tigers got right back in it in the third, though, when White followed a two-out single and walk by connecting for his 14th homer to make it 5-4.
However, Broussard put the Indians back up by two in the bottom of the inning with his seventh homer, and Cleveland went ahead 7-4 when Sizemore walked with the bases loaded, chasing Knotts.
Crisp came up again with the bases loaded, but this time hit into an inning-ending double play.
Knotts was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings, losing for the fourth time in five starts.
“They have a great lineup,” he said. “It goes back to not executing the pitches. That’s kind of the way it was tonight.”
Blake hit an RBI single in the seventh, putting Cleveland ahead 9-5.
Rodriguez snapped an 0-for-10 slide with his single in the third. It matched his longest slump this season. … The Tigers have an extra-base hit in 28 straight games, and are on pace to break the club record of 543 extra-base hits in a season set in 1929. … The Indians are not optimistic about signing pitcher Jeremy Sowers, their top pick in last month’s draft. Sowers has reportedly turned down a $2.2 million offer from the club. The Indians will lose their rights to Sowers if he doesn’t sign and returns for his senior year at Vanderbilt. … Hafner is expected back on Wednesday. … Tigers closer Ugueth Urbina pitched a meaningless eighth, perhaps as a showcase for a possible deal before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. … Sabathia (50-30) moved past Herb Score on the Indians’ career list.