Game 129

August 26, 2005 – Grady Sizemore Straight-Steals Home

The Indians were north of the border and C.C. Sebathia was on the mound against the Blue Jays and rookie starter Dustin McGowan. 

Grady Sizemore led off the game with a line drive single to center. Coco Crisp tapped one back to the mound and was put out at first, but Sizemore was safe at second. Sizemore advanced to third on a wild pitch before Jhonny Peralta struck out swinging. 

Sizemore noticed that McGowan was barely looking at him, let alone checking him back to the base. Pitch by pitch, he took a larger and larger lead as Travis Hafner worked against McGowan.

“Throughout the at-bat, I just kept going farther and farther,” Sizemore said. “I wanted to see how much they would let me have before they stopped me. They never did, and I told Skins [Third Base Coach Joel Skinner], ‘I can take this.’ “

Despite the two-strike count, Sizemore took a broad walking lead and turned it into a sprint to the plate. McGowan finally saw Grady break out of the corner of his eye, and rushed his pitch, which ended up coming in high. Catcher Guillermo Quiroz did not even attempt to apply a tag as Sizemore slid into home. 

Travis Hafner was as surprised as anyone that Grady would attempt the steal on a two-strike count, “If I had swung and hit Grady in the face, I would have had every woman in America mad at me.” 

Two pitches later, Hafner sent a home run over the Roger’s Center wall. He later jokes with Sizemore, “If I end up with 99 RBIs this year, you’re off my Christmas list.'”

Later in the inning, Ben Broussard notched an RBI with a line drive to left that scored Victor Martinez. The first inning came to a close with the Tribe up 3-0. 

Victor Martinez homered off McGowan in the top of the third. In the top of the ninth, Travis Hafner cracked his second home run of the game–a two-run shot off Justin Speier that drove in Coco Crisp. Victor Martinez followed with a single to right and then Ronnie Belliard took Speier deep as well. 

Sabathia went six innings giving up three runs on six hits. It was not his best outing, but the Indians offense more than covered for any mistakes. Bob Howry faced only seven batters in his two innings of work out of the bullpen, and David Riske closed things out with a scoreless ninth to preserve the 9-3 victory. 

The Indians were on a roll, with an 18-6 record since the end of July. However, they would eventually miss the playoffs after getting swept by the White Sox in the final weekend of the season. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 10

April 16, 2009 –
Indians Spoil Opening of New Yankee Stadium

Pomp and circumstance were the order of the day at the opening of New Yankee Stadium in 2009. Yogi Berra threw out the first pitch, Hall of Famers patrolled the pre-game warmups in letterman jackets, and Babe Ruth’s bat was laid across the plate as Derek Jeter approached the batter’s box to lead off the bottom of the first.

(US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call)

After being traded by the Indians to the Brewers in July 2008, CC Sabathia signed with the Yankees in the off-season and became their Opening Day starter for 2009. CC came into this game already 1-1 on the season and delivered the first pitch in the new ballpark to former teammate Grady Sizemore.

In the top of the 3rd, Mark DeRosa was thrown out at first on an egregious baserunning blunder that ended an Indians threat early.

Ben Francisco scored the first run of the game, driven in by a Kelley Shoppach double off the wall in the top of the 4th.

Cliff Lee struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the 5th, but gave up the historic first home run in the stadium to Jorge Posada.

The top of the 7th would see reliever Joe Veres take the mound for New York. Veres would walk DeRosa, and give up consecutive doubles to Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta. Damaso Marte replaced Veres, but fared even worse.

He hit Shin-Soo Choo with his second pitch, and then Ben Francisco moved Peralta to third and Choo to second with a sacrifice bunt. Kelly Shoppach knocked a single into right field, scoring Peralta and loading the bases. Tony Graffanino popped out weakly to first, but the bases remained loaded. Demaso walked Trevor Crowe on five pitches to force in a run.

On the third pitch of the at-bat, Grady Sizemore sent a home run over the iconic W.B. Mason sign in right-field, putting the game entirely out of reach and recording the first grand-slam in the new ballpark. Victor Martinez would homer two batters later to put the icing on this 9-run inning.

The Yankees were a frightful 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position, resulting in audible boos from the Opening Day crowd by the later innings.

Although they played the spoiler on Opening Day, the Indians have had a fairly dismal record at New Yankee Stadium, going 13 and 21 in the regular season over the ten years since the Yankees moved across the street. Factoring in the playoffs–especially the ALCS collapse of 2017–maybe all of that superstition did work for the pinstripes after all.

Honorable Mention: April 30, 1946 – Bob Feller throws No-Hitter after returning from service in WWII.