Game 103

July 31, 2009 – Indians Walkoff Win in the 13th after Trading Lee and Martinez

The Indians had just traded Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the Phillies and fan favorite Ryan Garko to the Giants. In the afternoon prior to Game 103, the Indians traded beloved catcher and clubhouse leader Victor Martinez to the Red Sox for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price. The Indians were classic sellers at the trade deadline, as they were 43 and 60 going into July 31st and 11 games behind the division-leading Tigers at the trade deadline. 

Those same Tigers were in town for a Friday night contest at Progressive Field. Fausto Carmona throwing against Detroit’s Edwin Jackson. Both pitchers took a minute to find their footing. Fausto gave up two runs on three hits in the top of the first. Asdrubal Cabrera battled Jackson through a full count, sending the ninth pitch of the at bat over the right field wall for a two-run homer. 

Shin-Soo Choo gave the Tribe a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth when he doubled in Trevor Crowe, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning. 

Taiwainese reliever Fu-Te Ni came in to pitch for the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth. He gave up a leadoff single to Trevor Crowe and then a line-drive RBI double to Asdrubal Cabrera. After hitting Choo in the next at bat, Ni was pulled with the score 4-2. 

Brandon Inge closed the gap for Detroit, poking a ground ball single into center that scored Maglio Ordonez to make it a 4-3 ballgame. 

Trevor Crowe led off the bottom of the eighth with a triple–his third hit of the night. Grady Sizemore drove him in with a single through the right side of the infield to extend the lead to 5-3. 

The Indians had acquired Kerry Wood as a free agent to be their closer after the steep decline of Joe Borowski in 2008. Wood had secured fourteen saves with the Tribe to date. He gave up a line drive single to left to Placido Palanco to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Carlos Guillen stepped in and cranked Kerry’s 3-1 pitch deep into right center. Although he retired the next three Tigers on eight pitches, he was credited with his fifth blown save of the season and the game went to extra innings. 

Tomo Okha pitched some very solid relief for the Tribe, scattering four hits across his four innings pitched. 

Johnny Perralta knocked a line drive down the right field line for a double to lead off the bottom of the 13th. Utility man Jamey Carroll, who had pinch run for Travis Hafner in the bottom of the ninth, stepped in. Carroll sliced a single just inside the first base bag to drive in Perralta and give the Tribe an emotional walkoff win. 

The next day, a Victor Martinez bobblehead promotion was planned for Game 104. Despite V-Mart’s departure the bobbleheads were distributed as planned. Six days later, the promotional team went ahead with a Victor Martinez chest protector backpack giveaway–a case study in why not to schedule player-specific promotions the week after the trade deadline. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 95

July 14, 2015 – Fan Catches Four Foul Balls in One Game

Only 15,400 fans spun the turnstiles for this Sunday afternoon matchup with the Royals, despite the Indians being just one game back from the Central Division lead. That left plenty of room for Greg Van Niel to snag foul balls. 

Van Niel caught four foul balls over the course the game–numbers 1, 2, and 4 on the fly, directly to his seat. He retrieved number 3 off the ground a few seats away. 

“Three of them were catches and one was a ball I picked up off the ground,” said Van Niel. “The third one, I think was the hardest one … I ended up sprawled across a few rows, and I got some cheese on myself. But the other ones were just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

He kept three of the balls for the young family members who were at the game with him, and tossed the fourth to a child in his section. 

Van Neil said that he had never caught a Major League foul ball before, despite being a season ticket holder just one section over from the lucky spot. 

In on-the-field action, Jason Kipnis put the Indians up early with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first that scored Michael Bourn. 

The Royals chased starter Ubaldo Jimenez from the game after scoring two runs in the top of the second and another two in the top of the fourth. 

Down 4-3 with runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth, Asdrubal Cabrera delivered a two run double into the right field gap. Jason Kipnis drive in Cabrera to add an insurance run later in the inning. 

The bullpen combination of Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, and Chris Perez held off the Royals through the final third of the game to seal the 6-4 victory. 

Baseball Reference Box Score 

Honorable Mention: July 25, 1928 – First Indians Radio Broadcast Airs

The original WTAM Transmitter

Owner Alva Bradley had agonized over the decision whether to allow radio broadcast of Indians games for years. Some owners thought that broadcasts boosted interest in their club, others maintained that free access to real-time baseball would depress attendance. By mid-summer of 1928 Bradley elected to let WTAM broadcast all games live from League Park except for Sunday. 

Billy Evans and Tom Manning called the first game, a 10-2 win over the Red Sox featuring left fielder Charlie Jamieson going 3-5 with two RBI. 

Baseball Reference Box Score