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CLEVELAND -- He called out fans for booing him, and for not showing up for games, but after Indians closer Chris Perez pulled off a huge save Tuesday night, fans say he can call them out anytime.
There was nothing but applause as Perez took to the mound.
Facing added pressure after his controversial comments, fans weren't sure how well he would do. But thanks to Perez, the Indians beat division arch rivals, the Detroit Tigers.
Amid fireworks and cheering, fans expressed their excitement.
"A real competitor faces pressure all the time, and he didn't roll over. He did an awesome job!" one fan shouted.
If only more fans were at the ballpark to see it.
The official attendance Tuesday night at Progressive Field was 15,049, about a third of the ballpark's capacity. But everywhere you looked, there were Detroit Tigers fans who made the long drive to support their team.
"From Toledo, to Lansing and Detroit, fans drive from 100 miles away to watch Tigers games," said Ian Morton, from suburban Detroit.
"Maybe it's the weather," said Indians fan Scott Liczey.
"It's been pretty cold the last 3 games I've been to," he said.
However consider this: Further north, the Minnesota Twins are last in the American League Central Division, yet ranked an impressive 12th for Major League Baseball attendance -- with an average crowd that's double the size of the Indians, per game.
Meanwhile the Indians are first in the AL Central, yet in last place for attendance.
"Frankly I'm disappointed [with the low attendance], but if they continue to win, maybe they'll come around," said Liczey.