September 29, 2005 – Sabathia Throws 8 Scoreless Innings in Chase for Wildcard
On August 1st, the White Sox led the AL Central by 15 games. Starting August 1st the Indians went 37-15 to close the gap to three games with four to play. The White Sox were in Detroit looking to avoid a historic late-season collapse. The Indians had Tampa Bay in town and CC Sabathia on the hill against against Casey Fossum.
The Rays put runners at first and third before CC got himself out of the jam by getting Aubrey Huff to ground out to second.
The Tribe got an early lead with some timely two-out hitting in the bottom of the first. Jhonny Perralta drew a walk and was driven in by Travis Hafner’s home run. Victor Martinez poked a single into center before Ronnie Belliard belted one out of the park to make it 4-0 Indians.
In the bottom of the second Grady Sizemore grounded into a double play that allowed Aaron Boone to scamper home from third. Jhonny Perralta led off the Indians’ half of the third with a homer that chased Fossum from the game.
Working confidently with a 6-0 lead, Sabathia retired the Rays in order in the fourth, fifth, and eighth innings. Overall, he scattered five hits while striking out nine Rays over eight innings of work.
Rafael Betancourt came on to close the game and faced only three Rays. He got Jonny Gomes to stike out swinging to end the game.
Sabathia closed out a strong 2005 season with a 15-10 record and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Fangraphs credited him with the fastest fastball velocity in the American League in 2005.
Despite the strong outing, math was not on the Indian’s side. The White Sox defeated the Tigers later in the day to clinch the division. The next day, Chicago arrived in Cleveland for the final weekend series of the year. The Tribe were still very much alive in the wildcard chase before being swept by the Sox in front of sellout crowds. They handed the wildcard berth to Boston on the final day of the season in their own sort of collapse.