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Game 48

May 28, 1989 – Joe Carter Walkoff Bunt

The Indians came into this Sunday afternoon game on a five game losing streak, and trying to avoid a sweep by the Orioles. Pitcher Greg Swindell later remarked to the media, “Everybody was feeling the pressure of the losing streak. The players were ducking their heads. They were walking on the field instead of running. I wanted to pump this team up.”

On Swindell’s suggestion the Indians even switched bat boys in an attempt to break the losing streak. Matt Rowland, who usually the Indians’ bats, was told to put on the visiting uniform. Mark Haas, who normally serves in the visiting dugout was directed to wear an Indians uniform.

Despite the superstitions, Orioles’ Bob Milacki was nearly unhittable through the first eight innings. In 8 ⅓ innings, Milacki struck out six and gave up only two walks and two hits.

Likewise Swindell, who was used to putting the struggling Indians on his back (as discussed in Game 45) walked four, and held the Orioles hitless through six innings.. He worked efficiently, retiring the Orioles in order in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings. After 27 batters, he had used only 117 pitches, but the Tribe had provided zero support.

Felix Fermin drew a walk off Milacki to lead off the bottom of the ninth. When Milacki got behind 2-0 to Indians left fielder Oddibe McDowell, Baltimore made a move to the bullpen. Mark Williamson came into the game in relief and McDowell moved Fermin over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Fermin reached third on a infield ground-out by Jerry Brown.

The powerful Joe Carter stepped to the plate with two outs. Manager Doc Edwards relayed a signal to the third base coach. Indians’ manager Doc Edwards signaled to third base coach Jim Davenport to relay the message to Carter.

In a post-game interview he said, “It was not an order to bunt. It was a signal to look at the third baseman and use his own judgment. Joe was definitely bunting on his own, but we all knew he was going to do it.”

Carter laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line. Fermin scored the winning run, and the Indians ended the losing streak on a 40-foot bunt off the bat of their most prolific power hitter.

Baseball Reference Box Score

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