Indians Beat White Sox In Home Opener
The Cleveland Indians kicked off their 2017 home schedule in front of a sellout crowd with a 10-inning win over the Chicago White Sox. The nail biter included key moments for players who weren’t around during last year’s playoff run.
In the sixth inning, off-season acquisition Edwin Encarnacion came up with the bases loaded and one out. The crowd was pushing for a big moment from what many consider the biggest free agent signing in the club’s history.
But it was not to be. Encarnacion hit into a double play. In the eighth inning, he came up with the same situation – 1-1 score, bases loaded, one out. And again he hit into a double play to end the inning.
But two players who were out during the playoffs last year – Carlos Carrasco and Michael Brantley – made huge contributions. Carrasco pitched seven innings and gave up only one run. Brantley hit the game winning double in the 10th to snap a three-game losing streak.
"Are you ready for a little baseball?’ How about another magical run late into October?” asked Tom Hamilton, longtime Indians play-by-play announcer during a ring ceremony before the game.
Many fans agreed that the Tribe will make another run at a World Series title this year. George Shihadeh is a 31-year-old fan from Strongsville. He sees similarities between this team and the perennial contender from the mid-90's.
“You know, the power years with Manny and Omar and Kenny and Albert and all those guys," says Shihadeh. "I mean, that was the powerhouse era of Indians baseball and I feel like we’re having a bit of a resurgence here and I feel like we can be good for another 3, 4, 5 years.”
And for Shihadeh it goes beyond a single free agent signing or having a player or two back from injury.
“The park is transforming, the team is transforming, the front office is transformed," said Shihadeh. "I feel really good about the structure we have here and the direction the team is moving in.”
The late afternoon home opener started with Hamilton introducing each of the members still around from last year’s American League Championship winning team. Manager Terry Francona presented each one with a championship ring.
“He was a 2016 All-Star, the American League Gold Glove winner," said Hamilton, while announcing Francisco Lindor.
Probably the biggest cheers were reserved for Lindor, who would go on in Tuesday’s game to hit a solo home run in his first at-bat. The team brought three local sports heroes to throw out a first pitch – Browns legend Jim Brown, former Cavalier Austin Carr and Jim Thome, the former Indian with a statue out front.
Then out came the Cleveland Orchestra for the national anthem, followed by a flyover from an F-16
Before this year, the Indians had lost seven of their last eight home openers. But thanks to that tenth inning double from Michael Brantley, this year was a little different.