Final thoughts after the Indians made more history at Camden Yards. Don't ask me to count how many thoughts, I'm absolutely shot.
1. Nine hours and 38 minutes in two days. What has to seem like an astronomical pitch count. Yet the Indians managed to win back-to-back 13-inning games for just the second time since 1912, according to STATS LLC. The other came in the first two games of the 1935 season.
2. “A little tired, and we did it in two different cities,” reliever Scott Atchison said after picking up Thursday’s save. “Luckily we had a day game yesterday so everybody got a decent night’s sleep last night. If we’d have played a night game last night, that could have made it really tough tonight. We’re not stuck having to be back for a noon game tomorrow, so everybody will have a chance to recover.”
4. As exhausted as they should have been, the Indians wanted to talk about where they're going and what these last two victories meant.
5. “Before we went into the Detroit series I’d been wondering last year we had a lot of late-inning heroics, some really grinding wins and this year we hadn’t had too many of those,” right-hander Justin Masterson said. “It’s been tremendous to see against Detroit, then carry that into today, just grinding. We gave up a few runs, but the guys who came in behind me did a good job to shut it down. We’re scoring runs, we’re taking advantage of everything we can. That’s the best thing to be able to see, we’re continuing to grind. That’s what this team is, we’re a team of grinders. We’re not always going to be pretty, but we’re going to make it happen in the end. That’s the best come-away from what we’ve been doing lately. It’s everyone coming together and being able to make it happen. We’ve all been able to do our part, to battle the challenge and work hard and at the end it’s been a total team effort.”
6. The Indians believe they are turning the corner, finally living up their potential and becoming a team.
7. “I’m proud of everybody,” manager Terry Francona said. “We’re becoming the team we want to be. That doesn’t mean we’re going to win every night. We make mistakes. But there’s not a better feeling as a staff, when you love your team. You look down the dugout, we’re in a game and it’s going back and forth and we’re tired and I bet you know how much we care. You fight so hard to get there, it’s really a good feeling.”
8. Atchison said the two victories “gives you some momentum to build on. The Detroit series we really played well, we were able to scratch that one out yesterday. To come back today and everybody fight and get through it, that’s one more game to build on. The way we’re going to get going is showing up to the park and win today, don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about what happened yesterday. We’re all doing that and the last four days it’s shown.”
9. After 48 games last year, the Indians were 27-21 and one-half game out of first in the division. This year they’re 23-25 and 61/2 games out.
10. “We’ve had a lot of tough breaks early on in the season,” Masterson said. “We were four or five games below .500 at the end of July last year. It’s not like we’re that far out of character. Maybe it hasn’t been as pretty as it was last year. There were a few more mistakes we’ve made. But we’ve realized we’ve been hurting ourselves. That’s understandable where we’re at, but yet we’re not that much different as far as standings as we were last year. That encourages everybody. Then you have these games and that uplifts everyone that much more.”
11. Everyone in the clubhouse was happy for third baseman Carlos Santana, who came through with the game-winning two-run double down the left field line in the 13th. Santana ended the night batting .153 and committed a throwing error. “It’s great as a team and great for him,” Masterson said. “Things aren’t happening because he’s not trying or putting in the effort. To have it go over the bag and be a perfect one, that’s incredible. That goes back to the fact that everyone’s doing their piece. It hasn’t been pretty for him all year, but he came through at that point.”
12. Francona said of Santana, “It was kind of fitting that he got a big hit. He hit the ball hard twice for outs. He’s been swinging better lately and he’s run into some tough luck. Instead of hanging his head, he went and got us a game-winning hit. I know he’s got to feel good about that.”
13. Added shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, “Good for him. He needed that to get his confidence back.”
14. After getting hit just below the left knee Wednesday, Cabrera said he wasn’t sure he was going to start the game. “I told Tito I wanted to try,” Cabrera said. He stayed in until the bottom of the ninth, when Justin Sellers took over.
15. Francona said he thought Cabrera had homered in the seventh inning, robbed by a great leaping catch at the wall by left fielder David Lough, but Cabrera said, “I didn’t think I hit it that good.” The play by Lough prompted Francona to say, “It was kind of an honor to be part of that game. Both teams gave everything they had. As much as it hurts to watch that ball get caught, you’ve got to respect it. It was a hellvua play.”
16. Atchison had the same feeling about Nick Markakis’ home run to right off him in the bottom of the 13th. “He hit a pretty good pitch, I tip my hat to him. I thought I threw that one pretty well. At that point, you’re just looking for three outs without giving up the lead,” he said.
17. Francona is always the first one who wants to move on. “Yesterday was thrilling and you put it in your rear-view mirror as fast as you can,” he said. “Tonight was in a lot of ways similar, the length of the game, see-sawing back and forth. We had to really dig deep. Some mistakes, but we outplayed our mistakes and kept playing. There’s a lot of credit that goes to a lot of players because everybody pitched in."