Roberto Perez smacked a home run in his Major League debut, a 9-3 Indians win over the Yankees Thursday.
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had such a hot bat in the later innings of the Tribe's 9-3 victory over the New York Yankees at Progressive Field Thursday that he did not even need to be swinging for it to drive in runs.
After Cabrera drew the Indians even with the Yankees with a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the seventh inning, he loaned the bat to catcher Roberto Perez when the rookie broke both of his.
On the very next pitch, Perez, who made his Major League debut Thursday, belted what was ruled a double off the left field wall. Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the play, and umpires found the ball had hit the black railing above the yellow line, which gave Perez his first home run in the majors.
"I ran out of bats," Perez said with a laugh after the game. "I always bring like two bats, and Cabrera just gave me his. It was a lighter bat than I use, and I'm just lucky I got it out. Of course, I'm going to ask him for some more.
"I was just waiting for the review. I didn't know. As soon as I hit it, I thought I hit it well. It was crazy. I still can't believe it. It was awesome to be out there for the first time. It was a great moment."
By hitting the home run Thursday, Perez became the first Indian since Kevin Kouzmanoff to hit a round-tripper in his Major League debut. Kouzmanoff blasted a grand slam off of Edinson Volquez, then of the Texas Rangers, on the first pitch he saw in the majors, a first in the history of the game.
"You're trying so hard to try and win the game, but it's nice if you can take a second and kind of take it in and enjoy it," Francona said. "The whole sequence, he went through all his bats. They were broken, so he was so nervous and jumpy that when he got somebody else's bat, he started to put the doughnut on. You know how the umpires are about keeping the game moving, and guys were all over him. He was a little flustered, and then, on the very next one, he hit the ball out of the ballpark.
"I thought he was really good. I think that's kind of a given. He's so good defensively, and what's really been impressive in his development is his ability to have better at-bats because he's a strong kid. It's hard with a backup catcher to get some offensive production, and if you do, it's a bonus because he's a really good catcher."
Perez finished the game with two hits in three at-bats, two RBI and two runs scored, and he caught pitches from someone he grew up with in the Indians' farm system, fellow rookie T.J. House.
"I think it's just awesome," House said. "I've played with him since 2008 at every level, and this is the final little stop. It's just awesome. I'm very proud of him. He's a good ballplayer, and I'm glad he's finally getting the ability to show his talent.
"For me to be able to throw it to him that first game, I think that's just amazing because I've seen how far he's come. He's seen how far I've come and the strides that he's made as a hitter, especially this year, is exceptional, and defensively and in game-calling abilities, I think he's A-plus."