10/04/07 11:47 PM ET
Indians Short Hops: Game 1
Lofton, Martinez lead the way to offensive explosion
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
The Yankees have one of baseball's best offenses. But Cleveland beat them at their own game on Thursday, even out-homering the Bronx Bombers, 4-2. Frozen moment
Protecting a one-run lead with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, C. C. Sabathia fell behind Jorge Posada with three quick pitches outside the zone. Posada fouled off the next pitch, swung and missed for strike two, fouled off another Sabathia offering, and then struck out on a 96-mph fastball. Sabathia escaped unscathed from this jam. Big number
6 -- The amount of walks issued by Sabathia in five innings. Sabathia walked only 37 over 241 regular-season innings and never walked more than three in a single start. But none of Sabathia's walks scored against the Indians. Game balls
Lofton hasn't played postseason baseball for the Indians since 2001, but the fleet-footed veteran didn't miss a beat. Try three hits, four RBIs and one stolen base from the seventh spot in Cleveland's batting order.
Frequently overshadowed by the more publicized exploits with the bat produced by Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, the Cleveland catcher continued his sensational 2007 season by coming a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Martinez's two-run home run off of Chien-Ming Wang in the fifth gave Cleveland needed breathing room.
The big left-hander clearly didn't have his best stuff, but he made the big pitches when needed to keep Cleveland in control.
Sense of October
The playing of 'Hang on Sloopy' really belongs to the Ohio State football team, but when it was performed at Jacobs Field after the Indians scored five runs in the fifth, the students in Columbus probably could hear the fans in Cleveland. Some of the excited fans even showed their charitable side, holding up signs encouraging NBA superstar and Cleveland sensation LeBron James to give up his Yankees allegiance and return to the hometown Indians.
5 AB, 3 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Comment: Along with his work at the plate, also threw out Robinson Cano trying to steal second
5 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 6 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HR
Comment: Threw 62 of his 114 pitches for strikes, but never let the Yankees move in front.
"Once that first pitch was thrown, it was just like a normal game. It was a lot of fun and loud and the crowd was into it more than I've ever seen here before." -- Cleveland first baseman Ryan Garko, on his first playoff game and first playoff victory.
The offense picked up Sabathia in the Tribe's first-game rout. Will the bats remain hot against a postseason veteran like Andy Pettitte in Game 2?
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.