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Game 61

June 14, 1997 – First Interleague Win

On June 14, 1997 the Indians played a game in St. Louis for the first time since 1953 when the Browns became the Orioles. Despite both teams being foundational members of their League (St. Louis since 1900 and Cleveland since 1901) they had never crossed paths in the World Series. The Indians faced Brooklyn in the 1920 Series, the Boston Braves in 1948, the New York Giants in 1954, and the Atlanta Braves in 1995. Otherwise, they had played outside the American League only in Spring Training.

Over 43,000 were in Busch Stadium for this new and novel matchup on a Saturday afternoon. Bartolo Colon faced off against Cardinals righty Andy Benes. In the bottom of the second, Benes helped out his own cause with an RBI single to right field. However, a spot-on throw by Marquis Grissom put Mike DiFelice out trying to advance from first to third to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, Colon gave up a leadoff home run to John Mabry and a double to Gary Gaetti. Gaetti was driven in by DeFelice to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

The Indians bats finally came alive in the top of the seventh. After a leadoff ground out by Sandy Alomar, Marquis Grissom singled to right and then stole second. Brian Giles drove in Grissom with a line drive single to left field. After a fly out by Omar Vizquel, Julio Franco singled to center and advanced Giles to second. Jim Thome pushed both Giles and Franco across the plate with a deep line drive to left field, tying the game 3-3.

Albie Lopez pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh.

Albie Lopez

In the top of the 8th, the Indians manufactured five runs on four hits. A throwing error by Delino DeShields extended the inning after Omar Vizquel grounded to second.

With an 8-3 lead, Alvin Morman and Paul Shuey both chewed through the Cardinals lineup on eleven and fourteen pitches, respectively. This sealed the Indians first inter-league win. In the inter-league era, the Indians are 16-10 against the Cardinals and 137-146 overall.

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Game 32

May 13, 2015 – Kluber Shaves Beard, Strikes Out 18 in Eight Innings

The start of the 2015 season had been rough on Corey Kluber. After winning the AL Cy Young award in 2014, he lost his first five decisions of the 2015 campaign. Of his eight starts so far in 2015, the Indians had lost seven. By mid-May many fans and commentators were worried about their presumed ace pitcher.

The Cardinals were in Cleveland for an interleague series and sent veteran pitcher John Lackey to the mound for this Wednesday evening contest against the normally hirsute Kluber. When he came to the mound clean-shaven, everyone assumed that in a fit of baseball superstition he was trying to change his luck.

Kluber got leadoff hitter Kolten Wong to strike out swinging on five pitches to start the game. Matt Carpenter flied out to center. Kluber hit left fielder Matt Holliday with the first pitch of his at bat. It was perhaps his only major lapse in control. Former Indian Jhonny Peralta stuck out swinging to end the inning.

Lackey got out to a rough start, walking Jason Kipnis on four pitches right out of the gate, followed by a six-pitch walk to Carlos Santana. After a Michael Brantley strikeout, right fielder Brandon Moss hit a liner down the right field line allowing Kipnis to score from second. David Murphy then knocked a ground ball single to right, bringing Santana home.

With a 2-0 lead established, the rest of the night was the Corey Kluber show. He racked up a franchise-record eighteen strikeouts in eight innings of work. He recorded at least one strikeout in each inning pitched, with 1-2-3 innings in the 3rd and 4th.

He took a no-hitter into the top of the 7th, when Jhonny Peralta poked a single into center field.

He threw 113 pitches in the game, 74 of them were strikes. With his pitch count climbing, the no-hitter broken up, and Cody Allen ready to slam the door, Kluber did not return to the mound for the top of the 9th. Cody Allen retired the side in order on 11 pitches and earned the save.

In Indians history, only Bob Feller had eighteen strikeouts in a nine-inning game (Game 152 of 1938, which was a 4-1 LOSS to the Tigers!). Luis Tiant holds the single-game strikeout record for the Tribe, but his 19 Ks came in a 10-inning victory over the Twins (Game 82 of 1968).

Kluber would go on to put together one of the most amazing months of pitching in Indians history, with 60 strikeouts in the month of May. Sam McDowell holds the record for most strikeouts in a calendar month with 76. However, McDowell pitched in a four-man rotation prior to the institution of the designated hitter. Normalized for innings pitched, Kluber recorded 12.56 Ks per 9 innings in May 2014. McDowell’s best month was 12.35 K/9 in September of 1966.

When asked in a post-game interview if he shaved his beard to change his luck, Corey stated, “I did it for Mother’s Day.”

Baseball Reference Box Score

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