April 20, 2013 – Indians Score 14 Runs in First Two Innings
The Indians were in Houston to face Phil Humber nearly one year from his Perfect Game (April 21, 2012). Humber had struggled early in 2013 since signing with the Astros and was 0-2 on the young season.
For the Tribe, Scott Kazmir was pitching in the MLB for the first time since being released by the Angels after just one 1 inning of work in 2011. Kazmir spent 2012 with the Independent Atlantic League’s Sugarland Skeeters trying to regain his pitching touch.
After a pop fly out by Michael Brantley to lead off the game, the Indians batted around including singles by Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Drew Stubbs; doubles by Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi and Brantley (in his second plate appearance); and a three-run home run by Mark Reynolds. Overall, the Indians plated 8 runs on 8 hits, chasing Humber after the 10th batter.
In the bottom of the first, Mike Aviles replaced Asdrubal Cabrera who had injured his wrist falling down the dugout stairs immediately before the game.
In the second inning, Dallas Keuchel did not fare any better against the Indians lineup. The Tribe plated six more runs on 5 hits.
Travis Blackley replaced Keuchel on the mount to start the 4th inning. Mike Aviles drew a walk on a nine-pitch at bat. Nick Swisher doubled to left field, advancing Aviles to third.
On a 0-1 pitch, Jason Giambi launched a homerun to deep right-center. His 421st career home run brought him into a tie with Cal Ripken Jr. as #42 on the all-time home run list.
Coming into the game, Giambi was batting .083 on the season, and his ‘veteran leadership’ qualities were being questioned in light of his abysmal hitting in the DH role.
In retrospect, this 5-RBI game was something of a turning point for Giambi and the Indians in 2013. Although his batting average would rise only to .183 for the season, Jason would account for some of the most memorable and inspiring moments of the 2013 campaign and the team coalesced around him on a run to an appearance in the .
Nick Swisher also had a career day with four hits, including three of the Indian’s seven doubles.
Terry Francona commented on the turnaround, “I think it helps guys feel better about themselves,” Francona said. “I thought they did a good job of that going into the game, but I do think it helps guys loosen up a little bit.”