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Game 160

September 29, 2017Ramirez Knocks 90th Extra-Base Hit, Bauer Just Misses 200 Strikeouts

Chicago was in town to start off the final series of the regular season. While the Tribe had long clinched the Central Division crown, they were locked in a fight with the Astros for home-field advantage and looking for their 101st win of the season. 

Trevor Bauer took the hill for the Tribe with 189 strikeouts on the year. He would have to have a career night to join Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco with over 200 Ks for the season. Mike Pelfrey was slated to pitch for the White Sox. 

Bauer got right to work, striking out Yolmer Sanchez to lead off the game and Jose Abreu to end the top of the first. The Tribe loaded the bases against Pelfrey before Carlos Santana’s line out to deep left ended the threat. 

Bauer pitched another 1-2-3 inning in the second, but all of the outs came on batted balls. 

Jason Kipnis was aboard with a walk to lead off the bottom of the second. After a Yandy Diaz strikeout, Kipnis stole second with catcher Roberto Perez at the plate. Perez eventually drew a walk, and then Francisco Lindor lined out to left for the second out. 

Austin Jackson poked a two-out RBI single over the second base bag and into center field. Jose Ramirez drove a double down the left field line that scored Perez and Jackson. Edwin Encarnacion reached on an error and Jose was able to come around and score during the confusion. Jay Bruce blasted a homer into deep left-center to cap off the 6-run inning. 

Bauer collected two more strikeouts in the top of the third, while the Indians scored four more in the bottom of the frame, including a bases-clearing double by Encarnacion.

Yolmer Sanchez was the first White Sox to reach base, and he did so in a big way. He lead off the top of the fourth with a home for the Sox only run of the day. He notched three more strikeouts before being relieved by Joe Smith in the top of the seventh. 

With a nine-run lead the Tribe relievers cruised to a Friday-night victory and held on to home field advantage. 

The Indians narrowly missed being the fourth team in MLB history to have three starters with 200 strikeouts for the season. Kluber (265) and Carrasco (226) far surpassed the mark, with Bauer falling just short at 196. 

Jose Ramirez’ two doubles (55 on the year) gave him 90 Extra-base. That put him 4th in Indians history for Extra-Base Hits He trailed only Albert Belle (103 in 1995), Hal Trosky (96 in 1936) and George Burns (94 in 1926).

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Game 140

September 7, 2017 – The Streak Reaches 15 Games, Universal Windows Direct Pays out $1.7M in Promotional Rebate

Local business promotions have been a part of baseball since the dawn of the game. Marketing agencies and the teams themselves constantly look for ways to integrate advertising into the game, the stadium, and the broadcast. In 2017, Universal Windows Direct, a local home remodeling company was getting set to celebrate its 15th anniversary. In 2016, on the way to the division win and eventually the World Series, the Tribe rattled off 14 wins in a row from Game 66 to Game 79.

Universal Windows Direct concocted a promotion such that any work purchased during the month of July would be refunded in full if the Indians went on a 15-game win streak between August 1st and the end of the season. 

SCA Promotions is a Dallas-based company that underwrites promotional contests and sweepstakes. They constructed an actuarial model to calculate the likelihood of a 15-game win streak and accounted for Universal’s July sales totals. Universal paid approximately $75,000 to insure themselves against the possible payout. 

Beginning with Game 126 on August 24th, the Tribe got on a roll and stayed red hot. Corey Kluber was matched up with White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey for a Thursday night contest on the south side of Chicago that would make or break the summer for over 220 Universal Windows customers. 

Francisco Lindor led off the game with a triple. Austin Jackson drove him in with a double to center. Yandy Diaz walked, and then Edwin Encarnacion gave the parrot a ride after a 3-run bomb over the left field fence. The Indians stranded runners on first and third but still closed out the inning with a 4-0 lead. 

Kluber was not sharp early. He gave up home runs in the bottom of the first to Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu to cut the lead in half. 

Lindor led off the top of the second with another home run blast and Erik Gonzales took Pelfrey deep for a two-run shot in the top of the third. 

Kluber settled in and went seven innings in total, striking out 13 and giving up only two runs on three hits. Greg Allen added to the Tribe lead in the top of the seventh with his own home run. Erik Gonzales homered again in the top of the ninth. 

Universal Windows Direct CEO William Barr with a Happy Customer

Kluber handed the game off to Shawn Armstrong who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth frame, while Craig Breslow did the same in the bottom of the ninth. The Indians won 11-2 and kicked off quite a party back at Progressive Field where a group of Universal Windows customers had gathered for a watch party. SCA was set to pay out rebates totaling over $1.7 Million to over 200 customers. 

The Tribe broke their own year-old franchise record for consecutive wins and finished the day 5.5 games up on the White Sox in the Central Division. They had their sights set on the 20-game win streak set by the Moneyball A’s in 2002. 

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Game 98

July 25, 2017 – Two Grand Slams, Including Encarnacion Walkoff in the 11th Inning

Mike Clevinger was pitching against his old team as the Angels came to town for a mid-week series. The Angels were throwing Jesse Chavez. 

Both Clevinger and Chavez threw 1-2-3 innings to start the game, but the Indians offense woke up in the bottom of the second. Edwin Encarnacion laced a double to center field to lead off the inning. Jose Ramirez followed with a line drive double of his own, which drove Encarnacion home. After striking out Carlos Santana on three pitches, Chavez suffered a sudden loss of control. He walked Austin Jackson and Yan Gomes to load the bases. Then he issued a third consecutive walk to Gio Urshella to give the indians their second run. 

With the bases still loaded, and facing a 3-1 count, Bradley Zimmer was not content to take to take pitches. He sent the Chavez pitch over the wall in right center and into the bullpens for his first career grand slam. 

After a pop-out by Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley followed with a home run of his own. Overall in the second, the Tribe sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on four hits. 

The Angels narrowed the lead to three runs in the top of the third, when Kole Calhoun took Clevinger deep with a three-run home run. Luis Valbuena took advantage of an Indians error to drive in Andrelton Simmons for an RBI single. 

The Indians chased Chaves from the game in the bottom of the third, while Clevinger held on until the top of the fifth. After giving up another home run to Luis Valbuena, Terry Francona made the call for Nick Goody and both bullpens were at work. 

In the top of the sixth, Goody gave up a leadoff single to Kaleb Cowart. Yuniel Escobar sent a line drive down the right field line. Cowart scored comfortably, but Escobar got caught in a rundown trying to stretch the hit into a triple and was tagged out at third. 

With the game now tied, the bullpens battled into the bottom of the 11th. The Angels called on reliever Bud Norris. After being held scoreless for eight innings, Bradley Zimmer drew a seven-pitch walk to lead off the inning and then stole second base. Norris could not find his command against Francisco Lindor. On a 3-2 count, Norris’ pitch got away from backup catcher Juan Graterol, allowing Zimmer to take third. 

With no outs and runners at the corners, the Angels elected to intentionally walk Michael Brantley to set up a potential double-play. The Angels shifted into a five-man infield. Edwin Encarnacion stepped in and sent Norris first pitch deep into the Cleveland night for a walkoff grand slam. 

Bradley Zimmer later said, “You could put the whole team on the infield and it’s not going to work. The guy was made for situations like that.” 

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