CHICAGO (AP)—Grady Sizemore gave the Indians the lead with one swing. And then in conditions better suited for football, fellow outfielder Jason Michaels ran hard and made a tumbling catch on the warning track to save the victory.
Sizemore, whose two-run homer in the seventh put the Indians ahead, raced over to congratulate the fallen Michaels after his catch Wednesday ended a bone-numbing 8-7 win over the Chicago White Sox.
“I thought he was going to punch me in the face. He was telling me it was a great catch,” Michaels said.
On a day of subfreezing temperatures with snow flurries and a biting wind, Michael’s catch of Joe Crede’s long fly to left with two runners on in the ninth wasn’t a sure thing.
“I thought it was going to be a routine pop fly. It just kept going and it had a lot of air time,” Michaels said. “Grady’s pretty aggressive out there. I wanted to make sure we weren’t going to hit each other.”
Sizemore, who led off Monday’s opener with a homer as the Indians routed the White Sox 12-5, connected Wednesday on the first pitch from reliever Matt Thornton (0-1) to overcome a 7-6 deficit. The two-run homer followed Andy Marte’s walk against Mike MacDougal.
Sizemore was more excited about Michaels’ catch than his homer.
“My heart was stopped for about two seconds. I saw the ball go in there and I just started screaming at him,” Sizemore said. “The wind was going all sorts of directions. It was swirling out there which made the ball tough to read. The snow and the wind didn’t help too much.”
The temperature at game time was announced at 31 degrees with a 15 mph wind and a wind chill of 19. During batting practice, players wore extra layers and ski caps as snow flurries fell, and they warmed themselves with dugout heaters. Once the game started, two of the umpires worked with their ears covered. The fans bundled up, too.
“It’s not a factor. It’s an excuse for me,” Thornton said of the home run. “I made a mistake and he nailed it. … That’s embarrassing for me. That’s ridiculous. It’s uncalled for.”
There were thousands of empty seats, and the crowd appeared to be much small than the announced attendance of 26,337.
“Seeing some of the home runs I saw today, I thought I had enough with the wind blowing. I thought it at least had enough to get over and burn them at least,” Crede said. “He just made a great play.”
The weather didn’t concern Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen as much as his pitching staff that has given up 26 hits and 20 runs in the first two games.
“I might get an ulcer before the All-Star break,” Guillen said.
Jim Thome and Tadahito Iguchi homered for Chicago, and Crede gave the White Sox a 7-5 lead with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the fifth.
Garland, an 18-game winner in each of the last two seasons, allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Cleveland loaded the bases in the eighth with no outs before David Aardsma struck out three straight.
Crede’s two-out, bases-loaded single off Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook in the fifth broke a 5-5 tie. Westbrook gave up seven runs and seven hits in five innings.
Thome hit a three-run homer—the 473rd homer of his career—in the first. Iguchi tied it 5-5 with a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth, a fly that went over the glove of Sizemore at the center-field fence.
Travis Hafner walked four times—twice intentionally. … The wind blew so hard early Wednesday morning that it shook a small decorative fiberglass panel in the upper deck loose, and it had to be welded hours before the first pitch.