At the end of another U.S. Cellular field ceremony celebrating Chicago's World Series championship, the Indians ran in the outfield and got loose. And that's how they played Tuesday when they beat the White Sox 8-2.
"The ultimate is to win the World Series and they deserve the right to celebrate that and honor that season," said Aaron Boone, who took some of the glimmer off the day with a homer, four hits and four RBI. He also crashed into White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski to score.
"It was a good shoulder-to-shoulder. He's a little bigger than me and it was a clean hit," Boone said.
"I didn't take any exception to it. It wasn't a big deal. It's part of it. Whatever," Pierzynski said.
The White Sox unveiled championship banners in the opener Sunday, got their rings Tuesday and will present the World Series trophy to their fans on Wednesday to wrap up their opening homestand.
"The rings are great. We can now put last year behind us and move on," Pierzynski said, adding that the ceremony had nothing to do with the way the White Sox played Tuesday.
"After tomorrow hopefully all this stuff goes away and we can focus on the season. ... It had nothing to do with the rings. We fell behind early and (Jake) Westbrook is tough."
And manager Ozzie Guillen, who embraced owner Jerry Reinsdorf in a huge bear hug as he went to receive his ring, agreed. It's been fun, but time to move on.
"It was great, nice for the guys. Thank God this thing is over. All the circus is over and we can concentrate on playing baseball," Guillen said.
Westbrook allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings for the Indians, who put ace lefty C.C. Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a strained abdominal muscle. After Westbrook left, Rafael Betancourt and Guillermo Mota didn't allow a hit the rest of the way.
"The offense was great and I was able to relax and go right after them," Westbrook said.
Victor Martinez also homered for Cleveland as the Indians roughed up loser Freddy Garcia for seven runs and nine hits in four innings. The Indians bounced back from Sunday night's soggy season opener, when they lost 10-4 in a game interrupted nearly three hours by rain.
Garcia had trouble getting loose and his velocity was down, not a good combination against the Indians' talented lineup.
"I didn't make a good pitch in the last two innings. I got to forget about it," he said.
Jim Thome hit a long homer in the fourth for the White Sox, his second in as many games against his former team.
Martinez staked Westbrook to a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the second. Cleveland jumped on Garcia in the fourth for three more as Ronnie Belliard doubled with two outs and Boone, Casey Blake and Grady Sizemore followed with RBI singles. Boone stole second and knocked Pierzynski over at the plate to beat a relay throw.
After Jhonny Peralta doubled in the fifth, Travis Hafner hit an RBI single and Martinez walked to chase Garcia. Rookie Boone Logan made his first major league appearance after pitching in Class A last season. After getting two outs, he gave up Boone's two-run double.
Boone batted .243 with 16 homers and 60 RBI last season, his first after sitting out the 2004 season with a knee injury.
"Without having to worry about his leg and having a year under his belt versus not having played for a year and a half, he's been a different guy from day one this spring," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
- Commissioner Bud Selig assisted Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams in handing out the rings which were designed by Martyl Reinsdorf, the owner's wife.
- Boone's four hits matched a career high, set numerous times, the last on July 8, 2005.
- Sabathia could miss three to five weeks with the injury, which forced him out in the third inning Sunday night.
- Westbrook was 0-4 against the White Sox last season in five starts. It's his first win over Chicago since Aug. 9, 2004.
- Attendance was 37,591, announced as a sellout on a sunny 49-degree day.