When Cleveland Indians starting pitcher T.J. House took the mound Tuesday night, he was not intimidated by the big hitters in the Boston Red Sox batting order, especially multi-time all-star and World Series Most Valuable Player David Ortiz.
House scattered six hits and two walks over 5.2 innings of work in a 5-3 win over the Red Sox.
"At first, I was giving up some singles, but I was still in the zone," House said. "After that, we started mixing more inside the plate. I think we were staying a little bit too far away. (Catcher) Yanni (Gomes) called a great game again. I've got to give a lot of credit to him, especially because he knows these hitters a lot more than I do
"With me coming in the strike zone a lot, I think they definitely wanted to take their chances and catch me early, but once again, it goes back to Yan being able to mix the pitches up for me and keep me one step ahead of them."
Indians manager Terry Francona felt House has grown as a pitcher after working through an early jam Tuesday.
"I thought T.J. kept pounding the strike zone, and the first inning was a good example," Francona said. "He's first and second, the middle of their order coming up, and regardless of what happened, he kept throwing strikes. That kept him in the game long enough, even though he gave up a lot of hits, so we could turn it over to the bullpen."
In Ortiz's third plate-appearance, House threw 11 pitches, but battled through the at-bat as the veteran hitter fouled off seven balls before he got Ortiz to line out to center field on a two-seam fastball.
"That was a tough at-bat, but it was really fun," House said. "I definitely didn't want to give in to him and let him win that battle. It was nice to be able to get out of it.
"It's awesome. I was just talking to the guys earlier. I used to watch him when I was in junior high and high school, so it's actually pretty cool to get out there and face a guy like that and actually have success."
Over his last three outings, House has lowered his earned run average from 6.43 to 3.79, but individual success is not what keeps him focused on his craft as the Indians look for their ninth straight win at home tonight.
"I think it's awesome, especially for the team to get the win," House said. "I think that's the most important thing. Whether I get anything or not, just hold and give them a chance to go out there and get a W and keep the streak going."