CLEVELAND - C.C. Sabathia's first performance as the reigning American League Cy Young award winner was just average. The Indians' ace gave up five runs in 51/3 innings yesterday against the White Sox, not taking a decision in Cleveland's 10-8 victory.
"C.C. battled," Tribe manager Eric Wedge said. "He left a couple fastballs up. He got better as the game went on. He gave his team a chance to win the ball game."
In his fifth career opening-day start, Sabathia's problems mostly came against Sox DH Jim Thome, who hit two home runs off the lefty at Progressive Field.
"That's Jim Thome," Sabathia said. "You make mistakes and he's going to make you pay. He put good swings on them."
Sabathia, who went 19-7 last year, walked three and struck out seven. He said he wasn't amped up like he admitted to being in the playoffs last year, just got away from his game plan a bit.
"During the last few innings I got away from establishing the fastball," Sabathia said. "I didn't really have a command of it. My off-speed stuff was working but I got away from my fastball."
MARTINEZ HURT: Indians catcher Victor Martinez left the game in the second inning with left hamstring tightness, and the team said he is day-to-day.
After getting two hits in the inning leading to a seven-run outburst, Martinez ran to second on a pitch in the dirt to Jhonny Peralta. He fell and rolled awkwardly to second base, getting tagged out.
"Not sure, it's something going on with his hamstring," Wedge said of Martinez's injury. "I've not received a report [of the MRI]. We'll hope for the best."
Martinez was injured in the Indians eventually snowed-out home opener last season against Seattle, straining his quadriceps running to first base. He did not go on the disabled list, though.
LINEUP TALK: Jason Michaels was second in the Indians' batting order yesterday against Chicago lefty Mark Buehrle.
Against right-handed pitchers, Wedge said second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera will bat second and David Dellucci will bat seventh. Michaels and Dellucci are platooning in left field.
OPENER HISTORY: Yesterday was the earliest home opener in Indians history.
The earliest before yesterday was on April 2 in two prior years.
It was the first time since 2001 the Indians have opened their season at home.
Cleveland is 57-51 all time on opening day and 58-50 in home openers.
BUNTS: The Indians wore their new alternate uniforms yesterday, a throwback cream-colored design. They will wear them on Sundays and holidays. Thome had his 41st career multi-homer game. He was the first White Sox player to have two homers on opening day since Sammy Sosa in 1991. The Tribe is off today before facing the White Sox tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona will face Javier Vazquez of the White Sox The Indians sold out the opener with 41,872 tickets sold, although the outfield stands were not full.41.50436 -81.69046