But this time Lawton was ready for Takatsu's changeup and he hit
a three-run homer in the ninth inning Saturday night to send the
Cleveland Indians to a dramatic 6-5 win over the White Sox.
"I went to the plate and told myself there would be one chance
to try to shoot one," Lawton said.
"The first two pitches I didn't really see that well, but he
threw me a changeup and I was able to hit it pretty well. I was
just hoping it could carry, man. It was definitely a big one for
us, it helped us win the game and get into second place."
Takatsu (4-3) took over in the ninth and was trying for his 10th
save in 10 chances, but Coco Crisp led off with a single and, after
a forceout, pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore also singled.
Lawton then connected for his 18th homer on a 2-0 pitch, a long
shot over the wall in center as the Indians won for the 11th time
in 16 games and passed Chicago for second place in the AL Central.
"You never expect something like that to happen. He's shut down
a lot of teams, us included," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.
"For guys to go up and have those type of at-bats against a
quality closer like that, I can't say enough about that."
The stunned White Sox lost for the 11th time in 13 games. Their
playoff hopes are slipping away.
"You don't know whether to cry or be mad. It broke my heart,"
Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Takatsu, the career saves leader in Japan known as "Mr. Zero,"
had allowed just two earned runs in his previous 35 appearances and
entered play Saturday with a 1.09 ERA.
"Closer is a very difficult position," he said through a
"If you win, it is going to be all happy. When we lose like
this, it's a tough situation, but you have to do it. You have to
come back tomorrow. It happens."
Lawton had faced Takatsu previously this season and that helped
him know what was coming.
"He doesn't throw hard," Lawton said. "You're trying to stay
back on everything."
Matt Miller (4-1) got the win with a scoreless eighth. Bob
Wickman pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Freddy Garcia was tagged for two first-inning runs and gave up
nine hits in seven innings, but Chicago's struggling offense
appeared to bail him out after the White Sox trailed 3-0.
It was Alomar's fourth homer overall, including three in limited
action with the Diamondbacks.
Carl Everett, another player reacquired by the White Sox, just
missed a homer two outs later when his high fly hit the top of the
left-field fence and bounced back into the playing field.
Fireworks began to explode for a home run, but replays showed
that third base umpire Bruce Froemming correctly ruled the ball
still in play and Everett ended up with a double.
Then Uribe made sure, driving one over the fence in right -- his
15th of the season-- to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.
Lee, who hadn't make it out of the fifth inning in any of his
three previous starts, gave up seven hits and five runs in six
Cleveland jumped on Garcia early.
Carlos Lee left in the eighth with a bruise after fouling a
pitch off his left knee. X-rays were negative and he will be
evaluated daily . ... Josh Phelps, acquired in a trade from
Toronto, is expected to join the Indians on Sunday. ... Indians C
Victor Martinez didn't start for the third straight game because of
a sore right hamstring, but entered in the bottom of the ninth.