Se­rial hit­ter: Crisp has In­di­ans within 2 wins of World Se­ries ti­tle

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

Back with his orig­i­nal big league team, Coco Crisp has be­come a se­rial hit­ter for the Cleveland In­di­ans this October.

Crisp came off the bench and sin­gled home the only run in the sev­enth in­ning Fri­day night, giv­ing the In­di­ans a 1-0 vic­tory over the Chicago Cubs and a 2-1 lead in the World Se­ries.

With just two more wins, the In­di­ans would take their first ti­tle since 1948.

“I’ve been get­ting text mes­sages, and my phone’s been blow­ing up,” Crisp said . “I don’t think I’ve had more than three or four text mes­sages at a time after a game prior to the playoffs, and now it’s like 30, 40. Ev­ery­body is kind of say­ing it, ‘Two wins away! Two more!”’ A son of boxer Loyce “Su­gar” Crisp, Covelli Crisp was first given the nick­name Coco by his younger sis­ter Sheileah, who grew up to be­come a fig­ure skater. When they were kids, she thought he re­sem­bled a car­toon char­ac­ter with big ears on the cover of a con­tainer of Co­coa Krispies ce­real.

He listed it as his child­hood nick­name on a ques­tion­naire when he was at Dou­ble-A in 2002, and a team­mate found out about it and told the ball­park pub­lic ad­dress an­nouncer. Crisp was flus­tered, got a hit and de­cided he had been over­fo­cus­ing, so he stuck with Coco, he told the MANjr web­site five years ago.

“Now I’m stuck with the name that started off as a joke!” he told the web­site. “It’s still kind of a joke, but I’ve ac­cepted it. It’s cool now.”

Cleveland reac­quired him from Oak­land for depth on Aug. 31, a waiver deal com­pleted just in time for Crisp to be el­i­gi­ble for the post­sea­son with the In­di­ans.

The way things have turned out, he’s be­come a key cog in their pur­suit of a cham­pi­onship.

Crisp’s two-run homer over Fen­way Park’s Green Mon­ster in the sixth in­ning opened a three-run lead against Bos­ton, and the In­di­ans held on for a 4-3 win that com­pleted a Di­vi­sion Se­ries sweep. His fourthin­ning solo shot drove in Cleveland’s fi­nal run in Game 5 of the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries against Toronto as the In­di­ans won their first pen­nant since 1997. “‘Cleveland against the world.’ That’s kind of been the motto,” he said. “To be in this sit­u­a­tion with the team that I broke in with is a very spe­cial feel­ing for me.”

Known for speed in his younger days, Crisp topped the AL with 49 steals in 2011. As his 37th birth­day ap­proaches Tuesday, the switch-hit­ter is far closer to the end of his ca­reer than the start. Orig­i­nally drafted by St. Louis in 1999, he was ac­quired by Cleveland three years later, made his de­but with the In­di­ans in 2002 and played for Cleveland through 2005. He moved on to Bos­ton (2006-08), Kansas City (2009) and Oak­land (2010-16) but bris­tled when the Ath­let­ics limited his play­ing time this year, a move that de­nied him the plate ap­pear­ances nec­es­sary for his $13 mil­lion 2017 op­tion to be­come guar­an­teed.

With the World Se­ries tied 1-all and Game 3 score­less, Crisp pinch hit for re­liever An­drew Miller in the sev­enth in­ning with one out and run­ners at the cor­ners. Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don de­cided to stay with Carl Ed­wards Jr. rather than bring in left-han­der Mike Mont­gomery, a move that would have prompted Cleveland coun­ter­part Terry Fran­cona to re­place Crisp with Bran­don Guyer.

“We liked that matchup,” Mad­don said. “You have to pick your poi­son right there. It just didn’t work out.”

Crisp lined a 92 mph fast­ball from Ed­wards into short right field, send­ing pinch-run­ner Michael Martinez home from third.

NAM Y. HUH — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Coco Crisp hits a RBI sin­gle dur­ing the sev­enth in­ning of In­di­ans’ Game 3 World Se­ries win over Cubs.

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