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Game 84

July 3, 2018 – Game-Winning Grand Slam Second Day in a Row

On July 2nd 2018, Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam in the top of the fourth to break a 2-2 tie against the Royals. These would go on to be the game-winning runs. 

On the next night in Kansas City, the Indians got out to an early lead, scoring two runs off Danny Duffy in the top of the first. 

The Royals answered in the bottom of the first when Lucas Duda sent a home run over bullpen in right field to tie the game at 2-2. 

In the bottom of the second with Adalberto Mondesi on second, Whit Merrifield blooped a hit just out of reach for Rajai Davis who was charging in from center. Mondesi scored after the ball dropped and rolled past Davis. Then, Merrifield scores from first on line drive over third base by Rosell Herrera putting KC up 4-2. 

Edwin Encarnacion walked to lead off the top of the sixth. Brandon Guyer was hit by Danny Duffy’s fourth pitch. Yonder Alonso loaded the bases with a single. Catcher Yan Gomes stepped in and took Duffy’s 1-0 pitch into the Indians bullpen in left field. This put the Tribe ahead 6-4, but the lead was far from safe. 

Royals had tying run at second in both the 8th and 9th. In the 8th, Royals catcher Salvador Perez was on second with Hunter Dozier at the plate. Dozier sent a ground ball through the left side of the Infield, which was run down by Rajai Davis. Perez hesitated rounding third base as Davis threw to the cutoff man Francisco Lindor. Lindor spun and threw a strike to Gomes at the plate. Perez was initially called safe, but the play was reviewed and the out was confirmed. 

In the bottom of the ninth, Mondesi and Merrifield were aboard for the Royals with only one out. Cody Allen struck out Rosell Herrera and got Salvador Perez to fly out to deep left to end the game and record the four-out save. 

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Game 80

July 6, 1997 – Sandy Alomar’s 30-Game Hit Streak (maybe) Sets a Franchise Record

Although he is best known for his defense, leadership, and ability to call a game, Sandy Alomar Jr. put together one of the best summers of hitting in a generation during May, June, and early July of 1997. 

On this night, the Indians were trying to close out the first half of the season with a sweep of the Royals. Orel Hershieser was on the mound against Tim Belcher. Alomar extended the streak in the bottom of the second with a ground ball single to third base. He beat the throw down the line on the weak grounder. 

The Tribe got out to a lead in a big way with a grand slam by Manny Ramirez in the bottom of the third. 

However, the Royals came in the top of the fourth, hanging seven runs, including a three run double by Scott Cooper, on Hershiser and chasing him from the game.  

Matt Williams leadoff home run in the bottom of the fourth and a two-run double by Kevin Seitzer tied the game at 7-7. 

Jose Mesa held the Royals at bay for 3 and ⅔ innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Marquis Grissom drove in Omar Vizquel to score what turned out to be the winning run. Michael Jackson pitched the ninth and was awarded the win. The Indians completed the sweep and entered the break with a 3 1/2 game lead in the division.

Of course, the next game following this one was the 1997 All Star Game, which was held at Jacobs Field. Sandy hit the game-winning home run off Shawn Estes and was named the MVP of the All Star Game in front of the hometown crowd. 

Sandy could not keep the streak alive after the All Star break, but the 30-Game streak is regarded as the longest in team history. Some record-keepers note a possible 31-game streak by Nap Lajoie in 1906, but the records are somewhat unreliable this early in baseball history and there are differing accounts. 

During the streak, Alomar slashed .422/.455/.595. He had 11 home runs at the break, including a streak of five straight games with a home run in April. “I’m in a zone. Everything looks like a beach ball,” he said in one post-game interview. 

The one benchmark that Sandy’s streak did not achieve was the longest streak by a catcher. This is notable because that mark is held by Sandy’s old rival Benito Santiago. Santiago put together a 34 game streak for the Padres in 1987. This performance–along with his ability to throw out baserunners from his knees–kept Sandy out of the San Diego lineup in the late 80s and eventually led to his trade to the Indians. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Humorous Mention: July 3, 2015 Trevor Bauer Imitates Teammate’s Batting Stances in Interleague Game


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Game 62

June 11, 2009 – Seagull Assists on Game Winning Hit

Both the Royals and Indians were struggling in 2009. Jeremy Sowers faced off against the Royals’ Zack Grienke. In a battle to stay out of the basement in the AL Central.

In the bottom of the third, Louis Valbuena led off with a double to left-center. Trevor Crowe advanced Valbuena to third on a well executed sacrifice bunt. Victor Martinez drove him home with an RBI single.

The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth with RBI hits by David DeJesus and Billy Butler.

Throughout late spring in 2009, a flock of seagulls roving around the outfield and roosting in the rafters. A week earlier with the Yankees in town, Nick Swisher remarked, “There’s what, 8,000 seagulls out there?” Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. “This ain’t even the beach. It’s Cleveland.”

Indians spokesman Bob DiBiasio spoke to the arrival of the birds and difficulty in getting them to move on,  “Gulls are riding the wind currents up the valley to the ballpark in search for food scraps to feed their young. The Indians are continuing to research ways to control this issue under the guidance of gulls being federally protected.”

The birds were in full force, filling the outfield gaps and taking flight to avoid outfield fly balls. In the top of the eighth, KC extended their lead to 3-1 with a solo home run by Miguel Olivo.

In the bottom of the eight the Indians mounted a comeback. A single by Mark DeRosa and a five-pitch walk to Victor Martinez chased Grienke from the game. DeRosa scored on a grounder by Shin-Soo Choo that was mishandled twice by the Royals. Martinez was forced out at second, but two throwing errors left Choo on second when the dust cleared. Jhonny Perralta then doubled to score Choo and tie the game at 3-3.

Indians closer Kerry Wood pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to send the game to extra frames. The Royals were unable to get anything going against Matt Hedges in the top of the tenth.

In the bottom of the 10th, Mark DeRosa singled to center to lead off the inning. Kyle Farnsworth issued a walk to Victor Martinez to move DeRosa into scoring position. Shin-Soo Choo came to the plate and poked a single into the flock of birds in shallow center. Royals centerfielder Coco Crisp charged in and appeared to have a play on the ball.

On one hop, the ball struck one of the gulls in the wing. The bird flopped around momentarily and then took flight. Crisp could only throw up his hands as the ball deflected away from him, allowing DeRosa to score the winning run.

After the game, Tribe coach Joel Skinner who has been with the organization both at Municipal Stadium and Progressive Field remarked about the birds, “It’s never been this bad here or at the old ballpark. I just hope I don’t get pooped on.”

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Honorable Mention: June 30, 1948 – Bob Lemon No Hitter

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