Travis (Pronk) Hafner ... back to slammin'.
Travis Hafner was activated from the disabled list a couple hours before Sunday's game and was in a talkative mood. He didn't want to discuss his physical condition -- but was eager to seek scouting reports on NFL players for his fantasy league team: "Pronktically Unbeatable." By the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners, he was his old powerful Pronk self at the plate, hitting a grand slam.
It was Hafner's 11th career grand slam and second in what again has become a disappointing season due to chronic shoulder fatigue.
It came off Seattle ace Felix Hernandez -- no small feat since the right-hander was locked in a scoreless duel when the inning began.
It all unraveled for Hernandez when second baseman Chone Figgins made a two-out error on a grounder hit by Luis Valbuena.
Suddenly, the meek Tribe came to life. Lou Marson grounded a single to right, sending Valbuena to third. Michael Brantley followed with a sharp single to center for a 1-0 lead and Asdrubal Cabrera added another RBI single.
With runners on second and third, the Mariners decided not to pitch to good-hitting lefty Shin-Soo Choo and take their chances with Hafner.
Even though Hafner was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against King Felix, the Tribe's DH was feeling good. And he considered it an affront to load the bases to face him.
“They walk Choo to get to you and you take it personal,” Hafner said. “When that happens, you want to go up there and do some damage.”
He did, launching a 420-foot drive over the center-field wall for a 6-0 lead.
Jayson Nix added a solo homer to complete the big inning and Brantley hit a two-run shot in the eighth.
Tony Sipp (2-2) pitched one inning of relief for the win after Justin Masterson had an odd six-inning start for Cleveland.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a guy go six innings, give up one hit, and throw more balls than strikes," manager Manny Acta said.
That's what Masterson did while striking out three, walking six and having only 49 of his 100 pitches in the strike zone.