June 17, 1965 – Sonny Siebert 15 Ks
This is the only place in the Project where consecutive games appear. The day after Luis Tiant’s 1-hitter, Sonny Siebert was on the mound for the Tribe against the lowly Senators.
In the bottom of the first, Siebert gave up one of only three Senators hits on the day–a single to right field by Frank Howard. He struck out Willie Kirkland to end the inning.
Senators pitcher Bennie Daniels lost control of the game early. He gave up a leadoff walk to Larry Brown. Vic Davillo reached on an error by Senators shortstop Ed Brinkman. Max Alvis laid down a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first. With the bases loaded, Rocky Colavito, Leon Wagner, and Duke Sims all hit RBI singles, giving the Tribe an early 4-0 lead.
Confident with this lead, Siebert pitched brilliantly for the rest of the game. He struck out the side in both the 5th and 7th. He scattered three hits and one walk, but no Senator advanced past first base after the first inning.
These were games 4 and 5 of a 10-game winning streak, the team’s longest streak of the year. The Tribe would ride a 22-7 record in June to first place in the standings by July 2nd. The second half of the season was less successful; however, and ultimately came to a 5th place finish in the AL.
Only eight Indians pitchers had recorded 15 strikeouts in a game up to this point, including Sam McDowell only two weeks prior. The mid-60s Indians were among the greatest strikeout-throwing rotations in team history, if not baseball history. McDowell, Siebert, and Tiant set many team records that would not be matched until the 2014 Indians set a new MLB record for most strikeouts in a season by a pitching staff.
This game bears a lot of resemblance to Shane Bieber’s recent start against the Orioles. An up-and-coming second-year pitcher striking out 15, scattering a few hits, and dominating a team that was hitting poorly.