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
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
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
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.