Four hits, two steals fuel offense ahead of Ramirez's walk-off single
By Shane Jackson
CLEVELAND -- Rajai Davis knew the drill. As soon he heard contact he dashed towards home from third looking to his left the whole way. As soon as the ball sneaked into right field he held his right arm up and roared with satisfaction.
The moment Davis crossed home plate he turned back and joined the mob for the hero, Jose Ramirez, on the pitcher's mound in the Indians' 3-2 walk-off win over the White Sox. Sunday's victory at Progressive Field may have taken 10 innings, but Cleveland's second walk-off of the weekend completed a three-game sweep over Chicago.
But had it not been for Davis' day, Ramirez wouldn't have been able to notch the Indians' fourth walk-off of the year. Davis recorded his eighth four-hit game of his career as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
"I really liked watching him, even since before he was [on] my team," Ramirez said. "I've always liked to watch players who run fast and run the bases well. He's a great guy to have on the team with us."
It was Davis' ability on the basepaths that proved to be the difference. Davis led off the Indians' first with a single and moved to second on a bunt single. Then he swiped third base and scored on a Mike Napoli sacrifice fly.
Davis' second time up he opened the third frame by smacking a double into right-center. He immediately swiped third base to bump his AL lead in base thefts up to 20. He became the first Tribe member to swipe third twice in a game since Omar Vizquel accomplished the feat on July 9, 2004 against the A's.
"We talked about it when we signed him and all spring, but he's probably a better basestealer than I realized," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Every time they are aware, he still has the ability to be safe. That's really helpful and when he swings like that, he's on base a ton."
In the final inning, Davis started things off with a double to left. He would not be given the opportunity to swipe third base for a third time as the White Sox intentionally walked the next two batters before Ramirez sent Davis home with a single to right.
Davis wound up scoring the first and last run of the finale for the Tribe and that is a credit to his ability to manufacture runs -- a trait he has possessed since he started playing baseball.
"That's always been fun for me," Davis said. "Stealing bases is something I started when I was young. I figured I'd never stop."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.