Game 128

September 13, 1995 – Charlie Nagy Tops David Cone and the Yankees

Over 41,000 packed Jacobs Field to see the first-place Tribe take on the hated Yankees on this Wednesday night. Rain delayed the start of the game until nearly 9PM. Charlie Nagy was matched up with reigning Cy Young-winner David Cone in the rubber match of the series. 

Nagy got out to a slow start, walking both Bernie Williams and Mike Stanley in the first inning. However, he got Darryl Strawberry to strike out swinging and end the inning. 

The powerful Indians offense picked him up almost immediately. Kenny Lofton walked to lead off the Cleveland half of the inning. With Omar Vizquel at the plate he stole second, and then stole third two pitches later. Omar drove him home with a ground ball double into right field. Manny Ramirez eventually scored Vizquel with a two-out RBI single leaving the Tribe on top 2-0 after the first inning. 

Lofton had Cone and Stanley’s number on this evening. After knocking a single to short in the bottom of the second, Lofton stole second once again.

Photo: Al Bello

Nagy retired the next seven batters he faced. His sinker was working beautifully, as eight of the first nine outs were either ground ball outs or strikeouts. 

In the bottom of the fifth, Albert Belle took Cones 1-1 pitch deep into the Cleveland night. This was the first in an absolute flurry of home runs for Belle. He hit eight home runs over the next week, and totaled 17 dingers in September. This tied the mark for home runs in a calendar month set by Babe Ruth in 1927. 

Tony Pena started the two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth with a single over the second base bag. Kenny Lofton doubled to right field, putting Pena on third. Then, Omar Vizquel punched a grounder through the left side of the infield, plating the Indians final two runs of the night. 

Nagy continued to cruise through the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. He gave up only one hit, a double to Don Mattingly that was quickly erased in the top of the seventh. 

Although his pitch count was already at 101 after eight innings, Mike Hargrove sent Nagy back to the mound to pitch the ninth. Bernie Williams grounded out for the fourteenth ground ball out of the game. Paul O’Neill gave Nagy a bit of a scare with a long fly ball to center, but Albert Belle was able to track it down on the warning track for the putout. Mike Stanley worked Nagy into a 2-2 count, but eventually struck out swinging to end the game. 

Nagy’s final stat line was a complete game shutout giving up three hits, two walks and strking out five on 115 pitches. After one more win in the final days of the strike-shortened season Charlie finished the season 16-6. 

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Game 118

August 13, 1984 – Joe Carter Gets Walkoff Hit Against the Yankees in the 11th Inning

Joe Carter has one of the most famous walkoff hits in baseball history. This is not that one, but it does prefigure the clutch hitting he displayed throughout his 18 year career. 

Brett Butler and Joe Carter

Brett Butler led off the bottom of the first with a triple, but was put out on a fielder’s choice when Joe Carter sent one back to the pitcher. Julio Franco followed with a single that advanced Carter to third. Andre Thornton walked to load the bases. 

The Tribe jumped out to an early lead when Pat Tabler drove home carter with a sacrifice fly, and Carmello Castillo singled in Franco.  Chris Bando walked to juice the bases once again. Brook Jacoby knocked a 2-run single, but Bando was thrown out trying to go from first to third to end the inning with the score 4-0. 

The Yankees made up some ground in the top of the third with consecutive RBI singles by Tim Foli and Don Mattingly. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Yankee starter Jim Deshaies got in trouble once again. He put on Bando and Jacoby with consecutive singles and then walked Mike Fischlin. The Yankees brought in Mike Armstrong from the bullpen to attempt to clean things up. Brett Butler hit a sacrifice fly to center which scored Bando from third. However, Fischlin was picked off at second for the 8-6-4 double play. 

The Yankees slowly but surely closed the gap, with an RBI single by Butch Wynegar in the top of the sixth, and RBI single by Don Mattingly in the top of the sixth, and a game-tying double by Omar Moreno in the top of the eighth. The blown save was hung on Ernie Camacho. 

Tribe reliever Steve Farr held onto the 5-5 tie through the tenth and eleventh innings. In the bottom of the eleventh, Brook Jacoby knocked a single to get things started. Tony Bernazard hit a double that advanced Jacoby to third. The Yankees intentionally walked Brett Butler to load the bases and set up the double play for Joe Carter. Instead, Carter poked the game-winning hit into left field to send the Indians home a winner. 

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Game 115

August 14, 1987 – Tom Candiotti Knuckleballs His Way to Victory Over the Yankees

Tom Candiotti was the Indians’ Opening Day starter for 1987. Throughout the 1986 season, Phil Niekro mentored Candiotti who was making the conversion to a full-time knuckleball pitcher.

He was a bright spot on a dismal Indians team that normally dragged him down with poor run support. Coming into this mid-August game, he had a 6-11 record and the Tribe were dead last in the AL-24 ½ games behind front-running Toronto.  However, Candiotti had seen some success against the Yankees, including a one-hitter in Game 105 at Municipal Stadium two starts prior.

In this matchup, Candiotti faced former Indian Tommy John (of ligament surgery fame) in a Friday night tilt at Yankee Stadium. 

The Yankees kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the first when Don Mattingly crushed a Candiotti knuckler for a two-run home run. 

Pat Tabler and Corey Snider singled in the top of the second. Tommy John walked Brook Jacoby to load the bases. This brought up Indians catcher Andy Allanson who poked a single into left field. Tabler and Snider crossed the plate to tie the game at 2-2.

Gary Ward led off the Yankee’s half of the second with a double. Catcher and future Indians coach Joel Skinner scored Ward with a sacrifice fly to right. 

The Tribe re-took the lead on a two-run single by Brett Butler in the top of the fourth that chased John from the game. Reliever Brad Arnsburg quelled the threat. 

Dan Pasqua led off the top of the fifth with another homer of Candiotti. Later in the inning with runners at first and third Don Mattingly put the Yankees ahead again 5-4 with an RBI single. 

Brook Jacoby put the Indians ahead for good in the top of the eighth with a solo home run off Arnsburg. Jacoby finished the night with three runs on three hits, one walk, and two RBI. Doug Jones pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his fourth save of the season. 

Candiotti pitched 7 ⅔ innings, and gave up five runs on nine hits but was good enough to beat the Yankees in their second straight matchup. Candiotti continued throwing the knuckler into the 1999 season. By then he had passed the torch to Tim Wakefield as the only knuckle-first pitcher in the league. 

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Game 101

July 29, 1928 – Indians Hit 24 Singles, Bat Around in Three Huge Innings to Defeat Yankees

The Indians and Yankees were at the corner of 66th and Lexington for this Sunday afternoon contest. Joe Shaute was pitching for the Tribe against George Pipgras. 

Babe Ruth struck first with a single to right. Bob Meusel took advantage of an error by Indians right fielder Homer Summa to score from first base. Shaute would regain his composure and get both Lou Gehrig and Mark Koenig to pop out to end the inning. 

The Indians batted around and then some in the bottom of the first, sending thirteen batters to the plate. Langford singled, Lind walked, Sewell singled, Johnny Hodapp doubled to score two, Morgan had a two RBI single, and Summa singled. Yankees manager Miller Huggins called for Wilcy Moore out of the bullpen.

Wilcy did not fare much better. George Gerken singled, he struck out Luke Sewell, and then Ed Morgan scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Joe Shaute. Sam Langford grounded out with the bases loaded, but forced in Langford. Carl Lind had a two-run single before Joe Sewell finally grounded into the third out. The score was 8 to 1 after 1 inning. 

After the Yankees were retired with only one hit in the top of the second, Wilcy Moore returned to the mound. Hodapp singled. Ed Morgan hit into a fielder’s choice, but ended up safe due to the Yankee second baseman’s error. Gerken singled again, and Sewell cleared the bases with a triple into League Park’s spacious outfield. Myles Thomas was brought in to relieve Moore on the mound. 

Thomas lasted only four batters. Shaute reached base on Tony Lazzeri’s second error of the inning at second base. Then Langford, Lind, and Joe Sewell singled in succession. The Yankees called on Hank Johnson to stop the bleeding. 

Johnson gave up consecutive RBI singles to Hodapp and Morgan out of the gate. Homer Summa recorded the second out of the inning on a sacrifice fly that scored Hodapp. George Gerken struck out to end the second. The score was Cleveland 17 New York 1. 

The teams traded runs in the third, and New York tacked on another in the top of the fourth. Hank Johnson survived until the bottom of the sixth, when the Indians struck again with two outs. With Johnny Hodapp on second, Luke Sewell, Shaute, Langford and Lind hit consecutive singles. Archie Campbell came on for New York to relieve Johnson. 

Joe Sewell and Johnny Hodapp hit the fifth and sixth consecutive two-out singles for the Tribe before Ed Morgan grounded out to end the inning with the score 24 – 3. 

Babe Ruth and Leo Durocher had RBI hits in the ninth to close the deficit to 24-6. The Indians final batting line was 24 runs on 27 hits and 4 walks. They were 19 for 31 with runners in scoring position. The game stood for a time as the most singles in a nine inning game, but was surpassed by the 1992 Milwaukee Brewers when they hit 26 singles against the Blue Jays 

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Game 99

August 8, 1948 (Game 2) – Eddie Robinson Leads Comeback Win Over Yankees

The Indians, Yankees, and Athletics were in a race for the American League pennant all throughout the 1948 season. A chance to see the hated Yankees always brought crowds to Municipal Stadium, but August 1948 was on another level. The four-game weekend series (including a Sunday double-header) set a three-day attendance record of 188,081 through the gates. 

The Indians had prevailed in the first game of the doubleheader with an 8-6 win led by a two-home run game by first baseman Eddie Robinson. Robinson’s second homer of the game–a two run shot off of Joe Page–sealed the victory for the Tribe. 

In the second game, the Indians threw spot starter Steve Gromek against the Yankees rookie Bob Porterfield who was making his major league debut in front of 73,000+ at Municipal Stadium. 

Steve Gromek

In the top of the fourth, Larry Doby robbed Yankees first baseman George McQuinn of a home run when he raced to the wall and timed his jump perfectly to bring the ball back into play. 

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Eddie Robinson rocked his third home run of the day over the right field wall. It was only his thirteenth homer of the season, but he was certainly in a groove on this August afternoon. The solo shot put the Indians up 1-0.

Eddie Robinson

The Yankees answered with some of their own two-out magic in the top of the sixth. Billy Johnson singled to left. When Phil Rizzuto stroked a single down the right field line, Johnson hurried hard for third. Larry Doby fired the ball from right field to third base, but strock Johnson in the back. The ball ricocheted off Johnson and into the stands near third base. Doby was charged with a throwing error, despite the cross-diamond display of strength, and Johnson was given home plate to tie the game 1-1. 

Gromek allowed only four hits over his seven innings, and only the unearned run. In the bottom of the seventh, Indians second baseman Joe Gordon led off with a single. Johnny Bernardino moved Gordon over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Porterfield elected to intentionally walk the red-hot Eddie Robinson to pitch to Jim Hegan. Hegan knocked a single into center field that scored Gordon and put the Tribe up 2-1. 

Ed Klieman pitched two very strong innings of relief, facing only seven Yankee batters on the way to securing the Indians third victory of the weekend.

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Game 90

July 14, 2002 – Bill Selby’s Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera

A sellout crowd packed Jacobs Field for the Sunday finale of this weekend series with the Yankees. Chuck Finley took the hill for the Tribe against the Yankees Mike Mussina. The Indians trailed almost immediately, as the Yankees manufactured four runs off five singles in the top of the first. 

Mussina retired the first nine Indians he faced, while the Bombers tacked on an additional run in the top of the third via a Jason Giambi double and two in the fourth to make it a 7-0 ballgame. 

The Indians began to climb back into things in the bottom of the sixth when Jim Thome homered after singles by Omar Vizquel and Ellis Burks. 

Ramiro Mendoza replaced Mussina in the bottom of the 7th. Omar Vizquel drove in third baseman John McDonald with an RBI double. Both bullpens continued to pitch effectively, and the bottom of the ninth began with the score Yankees 7, Indians 4. 

New York brought their legendary reliever Mariano Rivera in to close the game. Rivera had already recorded 215 of his eventual career 652 saves coming into the 2002 season. In the previous season, he gave up only five home runs in 71 appearances. So, Joe Torre and the Yankees felt that the game was in more than capable hands. 

The Indians comeback kindled quickly. John McDonald led off the bottom of the ninth with a line drive single to right. Backup catcher Eddie Perez knocked a single into right, advancing McDonald to third. Einar Diaz came into pinch run for Perez while Chris MacGruder stepped to the plate. MacGruder grounded to short, and Diaz was forced out at second. McDonald scored on the play, bringing the score to 7-5.

Omar Vizquel then singled to right, advancing MacGruder to third. With runners at the corners, Ellis Burks hit a line drive to deep left field. It dropped in for a double that plated MacGruder and put Omar on third. With the winning run now at second, Mariano intentionally walked Jim Thome to load the bases and set up an inning-ending double play. Travis Fryman struck out swinging on three straight pitches, leaving the Indians down to their last out. 

Career utility man Bell Selby stepped in. He pulled Rivera’s fifth pitch deep down the right field line. It was called a foul ball, but many insist that a puff of chalk was visible. A double into the corner would have easily won the game, but Selby trotted back to the batter’s box to face a 2-2 pitch from the game’s most prolific closer.

He later told a Plain Dealer interviewer, “When they talk about somebody dying or coming close to death, they talk about how your whole life flashes before your eyes. I can remember by the time I got halfway to first and realized it went foul, on the walk back, so many things went through my mind… I remember walking back, going, ‘That was my pitch. No, no, no. Clear your thoughts. Just relax. You’ve proven to yourself now you can get to the ball. Stay relaxed and breathe a little bit.’”

On some advice from hitting coach Eddie Murray, Selby choked up on the bat and dug in again. He sent Rivera’s pitch hooking near the right field foul pole. It cleared the right field wall and dropped into the bullpen, unleashing pure joy from the sellout crowd.  The Indians scored 10 unanswered runs to come back and tie the weekend series.

In a later interview Mariano stated, ”It was where I wanted it.  It was there. He hit my best pitch. I can’t get upset at that.” This was the first grand slam that Rivera had allowed in his seven year career. He would not give up another until 2010.  

This iconic Indians moment was one of 11 career home runs for Selby, who played in 122 games across parts of five MLB seasons. 

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Game 35

May 23, 1970 – Jack Heidemann Walkoff in the 13th vs Yankees

One of the best things about baseball is that sometimes the most unremarkable teams and the least likely players end up being heroes for a day.

The 1970 Indians were one of the most forgettable teams in Tribe history, finishing 5th in the AL East with a record of 76 and 86. Sam McDowell and Ray Fosse are probably the only 1970 teammates with name recognition beyond the most loyal fans.

Just over 6,800 tickets were sold for the Saturday afternoon contest with the Yankees on the lakefront. The fans who actually attended got to see plenty of baseball, though. The Indians matched up starter Rich Hand (no relation to current Tribe reliever Brad) with the Yankees Gary Waslewski.

Hand would scatter two runs on five hits over the first six innings. Waslewski lasted only four innings, giving up two runs on four hits, including a two-run home run by left fielder Duke Sims in the bottom of the 4th. Pete Ward pinch hit for Waslewski in the top of the 5th and then was replaced by Ron Klimkowski on the mound.

The Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th on an RBI single by Frank Tepedino. The Tribe answered in the bottom of the 8th when Duke Sims teed off again, this time with a solo home run.

In extra innings, Indians reliever Phil Hennigan was brilliant, retiring 9 out of 10 Yankees in the 11th, 12th, and 13th. In the bottom of the 13th, Duke Sims trotted to first after being hit by a pitch. Backup third baseman Larry Brown sent Duke to third on a ground-rule double.

With runners on first and third, the Yankees brought in reliever Jack Aker and intentionally walked the dangerous rookie Ray Fosse (who would go on to win the Gold Glove for 1970 and hit .307 with 18 HR).

Stepping in for his 6th plate appearance of the day, shortstop Jack Heidemann’s only hit of the day was the game winner. He poked a single to left field, scoring Sims and sending the Tribe home victorious.

Thirty-four players saw action in this extra-inning contest, which took nearly four hours to play.

The next day, Tony Horton would hit three home runs in the second-half of a twi-night double header the next day (Game 37), but the Indians would lose 7-8.

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