Hafner took a two-strike pitch as Sizemore stole home, and
Hafner later hit the first of his two homers as Cleveland beat the
Toronto Blue Jays 9-3 Friday night for the Indians' eighth win in
Sizemore got off to a huge lead from third in the first inning
and broke for home before Dustin McGowan (1-2) started his windup.
Catcher Guillermo Quiroz didn't attempt a tag as Sizemore easily
slid in safely for Cleveland's first straight steal of home since
Omar Vizquel at Detroit on May 27, 2003.
"I didn't know what he was doing. I thought maybe he had to run
to the bathroom or something," Hafner joked. "If I had swung and
hit Grady in the face I would have had every woman in America mad
Sizemore was worried Hafner would kill him.
"I'm sure Hafner was ragging on me after I stole his RBI,"
Hafner went for it after noticing the third baseman wasn't even
close to third and seeing that he could get a huge lead. He told
third base coach Joel Skinner that he could do it the pitch before.
"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, `I can
C.C. Sabathia, who won his fifth straight start, said it pumped
up the Indians.
"That was crazy," Sabathia said. "It definitely helped Travis
out because the guy left a changeup high a couple of pitches
Hafner hit a solo shot off McGowan and added a two-run homer off
Justin Speier in the ninth, his second two-homer game this season
and the seventh multihomer game of his career.
Victor Martinez and Ronnie Belliard also homered for the
Indians, who are less than a percentage point back of the New York
Yankees and Oakland in the AL wild card race. The Indians are a
major league-best 18-6 since July 31.
Martinez had four hits, including a solo homer off McGowan in
the third, and scored four runs.
Sabathia (11-9) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings,
striking out seven. He hasn't lost since July 30.
"He battled even though he didn't have good command of his
fastball," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.
Toronto has lost seven of eight. Before the game, the team
announced ace Roy Halladay will not pitch again this season after
breaking his leg July 8. The Blue Jays also are missing left-hander
McGowan, who replaced Lilly in the rotation, allowed four runs
and eight hits in five-plus innings. In his previous start, the
rookie gave up a career-worst 12 runs in 4 1-3 innings against
Sizemore led off the game with a single, advanced on a grounder
and wild pitch before stealing home.
"You don't expect a guy to steal with two strikes," McGowan
said. "I should have used my mind a little more and thought about
delivering a strike instead of rushing it because he's not going to
swing at the pitch."
Hafner homered and Ben Broussard added an RBI single for a 3-0
Vernon Wells hit an RBI grounder in the bottom half, but
Martinez's homer made it 4-1 in the third.
Run-scoring singles by Frank Menechino in the fourth and Alex
Rios in the fifth cut the lead to 4-3. Aaron Boone had an RBI
infield single in the eighth, and Hafner and Belliard hit two-run
homers off Speier in the ninth.
After Halladay was struck in the left shin by a line drive
off the bat of Texas' Kevin Mench, Toronto initially thought he
would miss four to six weeks. ... Broussard missed an easy popup in
foul territory near first base in the sixth.