Gomes impresses teammates with 12-pitch at-bat
TORONTO -- Yan Gomes was starting to think about taking a pitch just to end the at-bat. Instead, Cleveland's catcher continued to grind his way through a grueling ninth-inning confrontation with Blue Jays reliever Neil Wagner on Wednesday night.
Finally, with a full count and six foul balls behind him, Gomes drilled the 12th pitch from Wagner deep to right field for a three-run home run that capped off Cleveland's 15-run outpouring against Toronto. It was a prolonged plate appearance that impressed Gomes' teammates.
"Yan had one of the best at-bats I've ever seen in my life," Indians veteran outfielder David Murphy said. "He could've easily said, 'We're up by a lot here. This at-bat doesn't really matter.' But he buckled down, he fouled off a lot of tough pitches, took a lot of great swings and, obviously, got an incredible result."
Gomes smiled and shook his head when asked about the at-bat Thursday.
"It was a battle, man," Gomes said. "At one point, I was just like, 'Come on.' The game was, in a sense out of hand. I was just trying to get the at-bat done with. I think if I take that pitch, it's ball four, too. I even ended up impressing myself. I have no idea how I did that."
Dating back to 1992, which is as far back as baseball-reference.com has data for pitches per at-bat, the Indians have only had three other players launch a home run in an at-bat consisting of 12 or more pitches. Besides Gomes, Casey Blake (June 7, 2007), Carlos Baerga (Aug. 5, 1995) and Kenny Lofton (May 17, 1994) also accomplished the feat for Cleveland.
The blast by Baerga came on the 15th pitch from White Sox pitcher Atlee Hammaker. As it happens, Hammaker is Gomes' father-in-law.
"I heard about that," Gomes said with a laugh. 'I've actually got to let him know that."
Through 34 games this season, Gomes has hit .269 with six home runs, six doubles, one triple, 17 RBIs and 18 runs scored for Cleveland.