The season's only three games old, but the Indians haven't felt this successful in years.
"We just wanted to get off to a good start," Sizemore said Thursday night after his three RBI helped the Indians to a 5-3, 11-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"Chicago got us in Game 1 but we bounced back and played real well these last two games. We just want to get momentum going and carry that through. We've already forgotten about last year."
The Indians were expected to contend in 2009 but started 0-5 and were seven games out in the AL Central by the first week of May. Injuries limited Sizemore, their best player, to 108 games. They traded stars Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez, finished 65-97 and fired manager Eric Wedge.
They hired Manny Acta as manager and went young -- and few prognosticators gave them a chance in 2010.
Luis Valbuena opened the 11th with a bunt single off J.J. Putz (0-1). He went to second on Lou Marson's sacrifice and, after Putz struck out Michael Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera dumped a single into right field to put Cleveland ahead. Sizemore followed with his second RBI double of the night.
Acta moved Sizemore from leadoff to No. 2 in the order to give him more opportunities to drive in runs.
"He showed in spring training that he's healthy and ready to go, and this guy's going to be an All-Star for us again," Acta said. "There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to be able to do what he did before he got hurt."
While Sizemore and the Indians are over .500 for the first time since they were 81-80 on the next-to-last day of 2008, the White Sox are smarting after getting only 14 hits in the series.
Manager Ozzie Guillen made a big push to ditch the wait-for-home-runs strategy of recent years in favor of a small-ball approach, but the White Sox are batting .154 through three games. They struck out 12 times Thursday and stranded eight runners in scoring position.
"We don't have the luxury to strike out with people on base," Guillen said. "With this ballclub, we have to put the ball in play, make things happen. I know they're trying to do better, I know it's only the third game of the season, I know it's cold, but we have too many strikeouts."
After Carlos Quentin's two-run homer off Joe Smith gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead in the seventh, the Indians tied it against Matt Thornton in the eighth when Travis Hafner singled and scored on Jhonny Peralta's two-out, two-strike double.
It then started sleeting, making a night with temperatures in the 30s even more uncomfortable.
"It would have been easy after Smitty gave up that homer for us to pack it in, especially with the way the weather is," Perez said. "But we're not going to give up. I think that's going to be a trademark of this team."
The pitching staffs combined for 28 strikeouts. Floyd contributed seven of Chicago's 16.
Jensen Lewis (1-0) worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.Notes
- Former White Sox (and Indians) slugger Jim Thome's new team, Minnesota, comes into U.S. Cellular Field for a series starting Friday. Guillen says he's not sorry he valued versatility and speed over what a 39-year-old Thome could have brought to the DH job. "Do we miss him? Yes, but we're going a different direction," Guillen said. "I talked to Jimmy about why he can't be here. I don't have enough at-bats for him. At least I was honest with him."
- Indians 1B Russell Branyan (sore back) began a rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Columbus. He went 3 for 3, doubled and drove in a run.
- Chicago's Alexei Ramirez fouled off nine pitches in the third inning before Masterson struck him out on the 14th pitch of the at-bat.