Sizemore stings former team to end perfection bid
Former All-Star with Cleveland homers in 7th for Rays' first hit in loss to Tribe
ST. PETERSBURG -- The three All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger that Grady Sizemore amassed over his eight-year career with the Indians has made him a beloved figure in Cleveland.
City icon or not, though, Indians manager Terry Francona could have gone without the solo home run the outfielder hit in the seventh inning of the Indians' 7-1 victory over the Rays to break up Cody Anderson's perfect game bid.
"I wasn't here with him," Francona said. "I hear people talk about him and I know he's a very special guy. I don't care how special he is. I didn't want to see that ball leave the ballpark. Not just for the no-hitter, but all of a sudden they're within one. We didn't really have a chance to sit there and enjoy it too much because you're a mistake away from having a tie game."
Improving upon his first career start against the Rays in which he threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, Anderson carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, where he proceeded to get Kevin Kiermaier to ground out to first baseman Carlos Santana.
In the ensuing at-bat, though, history was put on hold as Sizemore took a 1-2 fastball and deposited it into the seats in right field to trim the Indians' lead to 2-1. The blast was the first that Sizemore has hit against his former club as he entered the game just 1-for-16 against the Indians.
"I haven't really thought about it like that," Sizemore said. "It just felt good to come up with a big hit in a situation where we needed it, but beyond that, you're just kind of thinking about how we didn't pull out the win today."
Sizemore did admit, however, that despite playing in his fifth game against Cleveland, he has not gotten used to facing a team he once called home.
"It's just a weird feeling after playing there for so long," Sizemore said. "But it's a different team now. I hardly recognize any of those guys."
Anderson's run of perfect ball was the second time that the Rays' offense has fallen victim to a deep perfect game bid in the last week as Marco Estrada tossed 7 1/3 perfect frames Wednesday before Logan Forsythe delivered a single to break it up.
But those near-perfect outings have not been the only stumbles for the Rays. Since Anderson's first start that concluded a three-game series between the two teams in Cleveland, Tampa Bay's offense has fallen into a lull, scoring a combined 12 runs in its five losses during the current homestand.
"It's no secret we haven't come out and hit the ball the way we're capable of," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We're going to go through those kind of ruts -- we're probably in one right now … Our offense will get out of this funk and hopefully we'll carry it over for a couple of games. It just wasn't there tonight."