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Game 72

July 7, 1923 – 3rd Largest Margin of Victory in MLB History

In the first half of a Saturday double-header against the Red Sox, Stan Coveleski was matched up with Boston’s Curt Fullerton at League Park.

1923 Uniforms

The Indians unleashed an historic offensive onslaught. They scored at least one run in every inning, including a thirteen run sixth inning that saw seven hits by seventeen batters.

In the bottom of the fourth, Lefty O’Doul pinch hit for Fullerton, and stayed in to pitch. Lefty is now known as one of the games great hitters, having won two batting titles in 1929 and 1932. He holds the fourth highest career batting average at .349, and he helped to found Nippon Professional Baseball after World War II. However, he also holds the distinction of giving up the most runs in a relief appearance with 16 in three innings, including the 13-run sixth.

Walter “Rube” Lutzke

Every Indian starter scored at least one run, and everyone but Frank Brower and Glenn Myatt had an RBI. Third baseman Rube Lutzke was 4 for 5 with 6 RBI and a walk in seven plate appearances. Shortstop Joe Sewell had three hits and two stolen bases–no lack of hustle in the blowout.

With a final score of 27-3, this game is fifth on the MLB all-time list for runs scored, and third all time for margin of victory. Only the Rangers 30-3 drubbing of the Orioles on August 22, 2007 and the Red Sox 29-4 run romp over the St. Louis Browns on June 8, 1950 had larger margins of victory. The Tribe also holds the #4 spot on the margin of victory list, with their 26-3 victory over the St. Louis Browns in Game 105 of 1948.

Retrosheet Box Score

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Game 70

June 20, 1996 – Indians Defeat Roger Clemens in Walkoff Win

It was always a joy to watch the juggernaut offense of the mid-90s go up against the era’s best pitchers. Matching up with Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, David Cone, Kenny Rodgers, or David Wells was usually a memorable battle, and often a playoff preview. You would be hard pressed to find a pitcher that typified the 1990s (steroids and all) like Roger Clemens.

You had this shirt in 1996

The Rocket was matched up against Chad Ogea this Thursday night at the Jake. Ogea started off a bit rocky, issuing a leadoff walk to Jeff Frye and a single to John Valentin. However, he then got Mo Vaughn to ground into a double play and Jose Canseco to pop out to end the inning.

Jim Thome drew first blood, cracking an RBI double to deep left field that scored Julio Franco from first base.

The Sox took a 4-1 lead in the top of the third. A flurry of offense topped off by a two-run single by Reggie Jefferson put the Tribe in a bit of a hole.

The Indians began to climb back into things with a solo home run by Manny Ramirez to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

With runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the fifth, Jim Thome grounded to second. He was forced out at first, but Omar Vizquel scored, cutting the Sox’ lead to 1 run.

In the bottom of the eighth, Jim Thome tied the game with a lead off home run to deep right field. Clemens struck out Albert Belle, and then walked Manny Ramirez on five pitches. Eddie Murray drove the ball into short left field for a single, advancing Manny to second. Carlos Baerga had the opportunity to do some damage, but grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Indians reliever Paul Shuey faced four Red Sox in the top of the ninth and held them scoreless. Mike Stanton replaced Roger Clemens on the mound for the Sox in the bottom of the ninth. Tony Pena led off the inning with a double. Jeromy Burnitz replaced Pena on the basepaths as a pinch runner. Omar Vizquel executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Burnitz over to third.

In his fifth plate appearance of the day, Kenny Lofton drove the game-winning single into center field, easily scoring Burnitz from third and giving the Tribe their third (of an eventual nine) walkoff win of the 1996 campaign.

Baseball Reference Box Score

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Game 60

June 23, 1931 – 23-0 over Boston in Doubleheader

The Indians were originally scheduled to face the Red Sox at League Park on Tuesday afternoon, June 23rd 1931. The game originally scheduled for May 11th was postponed due to threatening weather, and June 23rd became a traditional doubleheader consisting of Games 59 and 60.

Game 59 was something of a pitcher’s duel for the first 6 innings. In the bottom of the 6th the Indians broke the ice when Johnny Hodapp got caught in a pickle attempting to steal second. Ed Morgan was able to score from 3rd before the Sox tagged Hodapp out.

photo: johnnyhodapp.com

The Tribe scored 8 runs on 9 hits in the bottom of the 8th. Ultimately, Clint Brown threw a 5-hit shutout for the Tribe while the Indians manufactured thirteen runs in the final three innings.

Baseball Reference Box Score – Game 59

In the second leg of the doubleheader, pitcher Willis Hudlin was even more brilliant. He threw a complete game 1-hit shutout. No Boston baserunner ever made it past first.

Earl Averill hit 7 for 10 combined over the two games, with 4 RBI. His two-run double to right field in the bottom of the third basically put the game out of reach for the scuffling Red Sox.

Scorecard for Game 60, 1931

They hit 15 for 27 with runners in scoring position–always a recipe for success. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the Tribe scored 23 runs in the two games combined with no home runs.

How often have the Indians put up consecutive double-digit scores in consecutive shutouts? Twice. 87 years later, the 2018 Indians beat the White Sox 12-0 in Game 73 and the Tigers 10-0 in Game 74. With the decline of double-headers, the likelihood of seeing a repeat of 1931 seems infinitesimally small.

Baseball Reference Box Score – Game 60

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Game 58

June 2, 2014 – Masterson’s Immaculate Inning and 25 Consecutive Strikes

The Red Sox were visiting Progressive Field to start a weekday series and had John Lackey matched up against Justin Masterson. The Red Sox came out strong, loading the bases on Masterson before Jonny Gomes struck out swinging to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 1st with Michael Bourn on 3rd and Michael Brantley on 2nd Lonnie Chisenhall slapped a single down the left field line for two RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera pushed Bourn across in the bottom of the 3rd on an RBI single making the score 3-0.

In the top of the 4th, Justin Masterson struck out Jonny Gomes swinging on three pitches. Next up was Masterson’s former teammate Grady Sizemore. Grady took the first strike, fouled the second pitch off his ankle, and struck out swinging. Stephen Drew took the first two strikes, and then was called out on a check swing on a ball in the dirt. 9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 outs–Immaculate Inning.

Not only did he strike out the side on nine pitches, but these nine were part of a run of 25 consecutive strikes from the top of the 3rd to the top of the 6th.

Overall, Masterson struck out ten. 67 of his 105 pitches were strikes.

Despite a 2-run homer off Bryan Shaw by Xander Bogarts, the Indians bullpen was able to hold on and secure the win.

Masterson was the first Indian ever to complete this rare feat. There have been 95 immaculate innings thrown in MLB history to date. Three years later, Carlos Carrasco threw the Tribe’s second immaculate inning in Game 85 of 2017.

In Game 20 of 2018, Yonder Alonso, Yan Gomes, and Bradley Zimmer fell victim to an Immaculate inning thrown by the Orioles Kevin Gausman. However, the Indians would still go on to win that game 2-1.

Baseball Reference Box Score

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