Sabathia notches 10th victory of season
Indians send 12 batters to the plate in eight-run sixth inning
CLEVELAND -- C.C. Sabathia maintains his only concern is the Indians returning to October play.
"If I don't win another game that I start and we get to the playoffs, I'm happy," Sabathia said.
Yet the Tribe ace had to be feeling pretty good about things after an eight-run sixth inning lifted the Indians to a 10-6 victory over the Phillies Wednesday night at Jacobs Field.
Leaving the game with Cleveland behind after familiarly receiving little offensive support, Sabathia watched as the Indians' bats released a month's worth of frustration in the form of their biggest inning of the year.
Stunningly and swiftly, another night of disappointment had turned into the left-hander's 10th win.
"Great to see the guys come back and pick [C.C.] up," manager Eric Wedge said. "Really good to see."
Said second baseman Josh Barfield: "If anybody deserves this, it's him. He's been dealing all year and we just haven't been able to score for him lately."
He's certainly right there. Sabathia came into Wednesday's start having received only five runs of offensive support over his last 26 1/3 innings.
Though perhaps that was simply a reflection of an offense that had fallen on hard times this month. Coming into the Philadelphia series, the Tribe had scored three runs or less in eight of 13 games.
So even while the club's 391 runs are the second most in baseball and their .273 team average is fifth-best in the Majors, the Indians had undeniably been scuffling.
No more. Cleveland has now scored 31 runs over its last four games, and anything they may have been saving certainly came out in that sixth inning outpouring.
Josh Barfield, Casey Blake, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Trot Nixon all came through with RBI hits in the inning that would never end, one that saw 10 baserunners and three Phillies pitchers.
"It snowballed," Barfield said.
And who better to illustrate this than Nixon, who has seen his average plummet from nearly .300 late last month to .236 by June 19. Like the offense, Nixon is back once again after going 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs in his first multi-hit game since May 23.
"It hasn't been the best of times," Nixon said. "Struggling and struggling, it's frustrating. I don't think it affected me from at-bat to at-bat. But from game to game, it just made you more furious each time. Everyone has a lot of pride, so it was nice to have a good night like this."
It was certainly nice for Sabathia, who felt down after leaving his team in the sixth with what he felt wasn't a good shot to win.
"I honestly really didn't do that," Sabathia said.
Then again, Sabathia has a little different expectations than others. This is a guy, who after giving up five runs over his last three starts -- two of which were losses -- will say he hasn't been doing his job.
So a night in which he gives up four runs on five hits over six innings might not cut it.
The numbers must speak for him. Sabathia now has 10 wins, and is the third pitcher in baseball to reach the mark, a milestone of sorts when it's reached midway through June. And particularly so when his win total has reached double digits for a seventh straight year, a club record by a left-hander.
So while Sabathia said he hasn't begun to consider his All-Star prospects, he might want to start thinking about arrangements.
Wait, never mind. He lives only miles away from the site of the Midsummer Classic in San Francisco.
"I'm going home anyway," Sabathia said. "It would be nice to play in the game. But if not, I'll watch it in my house."
Now if he's still watching baseball in his house a few months from now, that will not be as acceptable.
"All I'm thinking about is us getting to the playoffs," Sabathia said.
Run support or not.
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.