Crisp's first HR back with Tribe helps beat Sox

Crisp's first HR back with Tribe helps beat Sox

CHICAGO -- Coco Crisp has been an everyday player or a mostly-everyday player for the majority of his Major League career, but the 36-year-old is content to fill a limited role now with a Indians team likely headed for the postseason.

"Coming over here, I knew what my role would be, and I'm OK with that," he said. "It's just about getting in there and helping out the team when you do get an opportunity, and trying to be the best cheerleader you can be in those other times.

"I'm comfortable with it."

Since being acquired from the A's on Aug. 31, Crisp had just 17 at-bats before making a rare start Wednesday night. He took advantage of the opportunity, going 2-for-4 with a double and a three-run home run in the Indians' 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

After Cleveland failed to score in the fifth inning despite having runners on first and third with none out, Crisp made sure the sixth inning wouldn't be a repeat. With runners on first and second and none out, Crisp hit a fastball from Chicago starter Carlos Rodon (7-9) over the left-field wall to turn a tight 3-1 game into a five-run cushion.

"I was just looking for a fastball in and I got it," Crisp said. "Luckily it stayed fair. That's all I was looking for.

"It feels nice. It was nice that first game to get that hit out of the way early and you always want to get on the board with a homer, too. It was nice tonight to get one of those."

And it also came at a nice time for a team that had suffered back-to-back routs to the White Sox in the first two games of the series.

"It was huge," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Any time you can spread a game out with one swing makes it a lot easier. You stay away from a mistake can cost you a game."

Playing with the Indians is actually a new/old role for Crisp, who sent the first four seasons of his career in Cleveland.

"It's an easy clubhouse, everybody's cool," he said. "It's familiar to me being here before. But it's a nice, relaxed clubhouse and I've played for Tito [Francona] before."

Of course, being in first place in mid-September with a magic number that dropped to 12 with the win helps the transition as well.

"We had a nice little run over there [at Oakland], but obviously you want to be on a winning team and a winning environment," Crisp said. "Being able to come over here towards the end of the season is nice. I'm very lucky."

Crisp, though, shouldn't get too used to his bench role -- especially if he produces like Wednesday.

"Coco's probably gonna play more as we get closer to the end," Francona said.

John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.