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Game 112

August 8, 1961 – Four-Run Comeback Ends with a Walkoff Passed Ball

The 1961 Indians were a largely forgettable team, although they were playing above-.500 baseball at this point in the season. The lowly Washington Senators were in town. Just over 5,000 fans came to the lakefront to see Bennie Daniels take on Barry Latman. 

Washington scored first in the top of the fourth when Latman walked left fielder Gene Woodling. Two batters later, Bob Johnson put the Sens on the board with a two-run home run to dead center. 

An inning later, right-fielder Chuck Hinton tacked on another run with a solo homer to center. 

In the top of the eighth, Washington touched up Indians reliever Bobby Locke for two runs on three hits and an error. 

Bennie Daniels had given up only two hits through four, but issued two walks to lead off the bottom of the fifth. With Willie Kirkland and Bubba Phillips on base, Tribe catcher John Romano blooped a single into left field to score Kirkland and make it a 3-1 game. 

Facing a 5-1 deficit, Woodie Held led off the bottom of the eighth with a strikeout. Chuck Essegian pinch hit for the pitcher Bobby Locke and rocked a home run to deep left field off Daniels. Johnny Temple recorded a quick flyball out, and then two consecutive singles by Don DIllard and Tito Francona chased Daniels from the game. 

Senators reliever Mike Garcia came on to pitch with runners on first and second. He gave up consecutive two-out singles to Kirkland, Phillips, and Romano which tied the game. He was pulled in favor of Dave Sisler who recorded the final out of the eighth. 

The teams played through a scoreless ninth. In the top of the tenth, the Senators threatened. They had runners on first and third with one out, but Marty Keough popped a fly to second base. Johnny Temple made the catch for the first out, and threw home to get Hinton who was running on contact. The inning-ending double play was yet another break for the Tribe in a game where luck was on their side. 

In the bottom of the tenth, Sisler and backup catcher Gene Green could not get on the same page. Don Dillard led off with a double to center. Tito Francona walked and then both advanced on a passed ball with Willie Kirkland at the plate. Kirkland eventually drew a walk. With the bases loaded and Bubba Phillips at the plate another ball skipped away from Green. Dillard hustled home to snatch a victory on the second passed ball of the inning. 

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Game 108

July 31, 1963 – Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Home Runs

The Angels and Indians were both in the basement of the American League in 1963. So, it is no wonder that only 7,822 turned the turnstiles on the Lakefront to see the second half of a Wednesday double-header. However, those few faithful fans witnessed something that has not occurred in Indians history before or since. 

The Angels jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when first baseman Lee Thomas took Pedro Ramos deep for a two-out solo home run in the top of the first.

In the bottom of the third, Ramos helped out his own cause with a solo home run of his own which evened the score. 

Back at the top of the order, Tito Francona singled, followed by another single from Larry Brown. With runners at the corners, Willie Kirkland walked to load the bases. The Angels had seen enough from starter Eli Grba and brought Don Lee in from the bullpen. Lee struck out Max Alvis and appeared to be out to a strong start, until Fred Whitfield rocked a home run into the upper deck in right field to put the Tribe ahead 5-1. 

Ramos tallied ten strikeouts through the first six innings, keeping the Angels to just the one early run. 

Reliever Paul Foytack had pitched the bottom of the fifth and returned for the sixth. He struck out catcher Joe Azcue and Al Luplow flied to right. The two-out magic returned for the Tribe as Woodie Held homered to deep left. Pedro Ramos stepped in and homered to left for the second time in the game. Tito Francona followed with a third straight homer to right. Finally, rookie second baseman Larry Brown got his first homer in the majors for back-to-back-to-back-to-back long balls. 

Foytack later remarked, “I was trying to brush [Brown] back. It shows you I didn’t know where my pitches were going.”

Ramos gave up four runs on four hits in the top of the seventh, but otherwise the Indians were content to cruise to a 9-5 victory and a place in trivia history. 

Only one team had ever hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers before. In 1961 Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, and Frank Thomas did it for the Boston Braves. The Indians were the first to complete the streak off a single pitcher. The feat has been repeated seven times since, most recently by the Nationals in 2019

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