It seemed like old times today, as the Indians won behind the pitching of Fausto Carmona and home runs from Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore.
Today was Sizemore's first major-league action since last May, but he didn't show any signs of rust at the plate; he went 2-for-4 with a double and a third inning home run. The game was a key milestone as Grady works toward a full recovery from major knee surgery, but for at least one game and one facet of play, it seemed as if he'd never left.
Despite difficult playing conditions, Fausto Carmona pitched another excellent game. He walked one and gave up five hits in seven innings of work, continuing an extended streak of outstanding starting pitching. Tribe pitchers have recorded Quality Starts (6+ IP, 3 ER or fewer) in 12 of the last 13 games. And because the bullpen has likewise been almost perfect, the Indians are now 11-2 over that stretch. Most of the wins during this stretch have been of the "win from ahead" variety, with the Indians building a lead early and never relinquishing it. It's going to be very difficult to maintain this high level or play, but at the same time, the record is a true reflection of how well the team has played; it isn't made up of fluke comebacks or slugfests.
Matt LaPorta went 0-for-2, but he worked a nice 10-pitch walk to start the seventh and made an excellent defensive play to end it. With a runner on second and two outs, LaPorta not only made a very good scoop of Asdrubal Cabrera's throw, but also somehow stayed on the bag. He's been a quick study at what is still a relatively new position.
Next Up: An AL Central first-place showdown in Kansas City. Yes, you read right. Carrasco vs. Davies, 8:05 PM.