August 26, 2005 – Grady Sizemore Straight-Steals Home
The Indians were north of the border and C.C. Sebathia was on the mound against the Blue Jays and rookie starter Dustin McGowan.
Grady Sizemore led off the game with a line drive single to center. Coco Crisp tapped one back to the mound and was put out at first, but Sizemore was safe at second. Sizemore advanced to third on a wild pitch before Jhonny Peralta struck out swinging.
Sizemore noticed that McGowan was barely looking at him, let alone checking him back to the base. Pitch by pitch, he took a larger and larger lead as Travis Hafner worked against McGowan.
“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 [Third Base Coach Joel Skinner], ‘I can take this.’ “
Despite the two-strike count, Sizemore took a broad walking lead and turned it into a sprint to the plate. McGowan finally saw Grady break out of the corner of his eye, and rushed his pitch, which ended up coming in high. Catcher Guillermo Quiroz did not even attempt to apply a tag as Sizemore slid into home.
Travis Hafner was as surprised as anyone that Grady would attempt the steal on a two-strike count, “If I had swung and hit Grady in the face, I would have had every woman in America mad at me.”
Two pitches later, Hafner sent a home run over the Roger’s Center wall. He later jokes with Sizemore, “If I end up with 99 RBIs this year, you’re off my Christmas list.'”
Later in the inning, Ben Broussard notched an RBI with a line drive to left that scored Victor Martinez. The first inning came to a close with the Tribe up 3-0.
Victor Martinez homered off McGowan in the top of the third. In the top of the ninth, Travis Hafner cracked his second home run of the game–a two-run shot off Justin Speier that drove in Coco Crisp. Victor Martinez followed with a single to right and then Ronnie Belliard took Speier deep as well.
Sabathia went six innings giving up three runs on six hits. It was not his best outing, but the Indians offense more than covered for any mistakes. Bob Howry faced only seven batters in his two innings of work out of the bullpen, and David Riske closed things out with a scoreless ninth to preserve the 9-3 victory.
The Indians were on a roll, with an 18-6 record since the end of July. However, they would eventually miss the playoffs after getting swept by the White Sox in the final weekend of the season.