Shin-Soo Choo spent most of Monday with his wife and newborn daughter. He got to the park today having slept just a couple hours, but that didn't prevent him from having a career first before the game was out.
But I suppose we're getting ahead of ourselves. The Indians came into the day 5.5 out of first place but with an opportunity to gain 1.5 games if everything broke their way. Before the game, however, yet another starting position player was pulled from the lineup. Michael Brantley, who has been playing through a wrist injury for some time, literally could not swing a bat, so Ezqequiel Carrera started in his place. Brantley won't be placed on the Disabled yet, but if he can't go on Friday (after Wednesday's day game and an off day), he'll have to be put on the shelf. That would mean of the nine regulars projected to play for the Indians this year, only Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera have remained healthy (and with the team) all season. Jason Donald (3B), Matt LaPorta (1B), Grady Sizemore (CF), Shin-Soo Choo (RF), and Travis Hafner (DH) have all been on the Disabled List at one point or another.
The Indians started Justin Masterson in the first game of the doubleheader, and while he allowed 10 hits, he also pitched into the ninth inning, not only giving the Indians a good opportunity to win the game, but also the doubleheader, as Manny Acta would have most of his bullpen available for the nightcap. But Acta tried to get one inning too many out of his ace, and Chris Perez, who had just been playing catch in the bullpen, had to quickly warm up after Masterson got into trouble. Pitching in the ninth with a 3-2 lead, Justin got the first out with ease, and got ahead of Miguel Olivo, but Olivo and then Kyle Seager singled in quick progression, and Perez was called upon to get the Indians out of jam.
First to face Perez was Trayvon Robinson, and after the count went full on him, Perez, not wanting to walk him, threw him too good a strike, and Robinson doubled home both Olivo and Seager to give Seattle the lead. It looked like not only the game but the season was unraveling.
But the Indians had yet another comeback in them. It was Carrera, Brantley's replacement, that started things off; he doubled off Mariner closer Brandon League. Asdrubal Cabrera then reached on a fielder's choice/error after Dustin Ackley tried to get Carrera at third base but threw wildly. That brought up Choo, who just hours before had been unsure whether to attend the game:
Shin-Soo Choo was at an area hospital on Tuesday morning, spending time at his wife's side after the birth of their third child one day earlier. The Indians right fielder then received a phone call.
Indians manager Manny Acta wanted to know if Choo was available to play.Choo hung up the phone, talked things over with his wife and then headed to Progressive Field with her blessing.
So it was Choo that came to the plate in the ninth and two on. He took a Brandon League fastball the other way, and just cleared the left field fence to end the four-game losing streak and keep the Indians' fading playoff hopes alive for at least a couple hours. The walk-off home run was Choo's first at any level.
One more interesting happening: during the game, an earthquake was felt by those in the stadium. The tremor, a 5.8 magnitude with a epicenter in Virginia, didn't cause any structural damage to either Progressive Field or the surrounding area, but many fans did leave their seats for a while.