Game 146

September 18, 2000 – Bartolo Colon has a Career Night, One-Hits the Yankees

The Yankees were leading the chase for the American League pennant, while the Indians were scrapping to stay in the wildcard race during this late-season visit to the Bronx. In a prime-time pitching matchup, Bartolo Colon was to face off with Roger Clemens. Clemens had not suffered a loss in his last 15 starts. 

Kenny Lofton drew a 10-pitch walk to lead off the game. Then Omar Vizquel bounced a single off the second base bag. After a Robbie Alomar strikeout, Manny Ramirez poked a ground ball single into short right field that scored Lofton from second. Jim Thome grounded into a double play, but not before the Indians were up 1-0. 

Derek Jeter lined one back to the mound and hit Colon in the side. Bartolo was able to recover and flip the ball to first. After a lengthy visit from the training staff, Colon stayed in the game. With two outs, David Justice reached on an error by Tribe left fielder Russel Branyan. However, Justice was quickly left on base as Bartolo struck out Tito Martinez on three pitches. 

In the bottom of the second, Kenny Lofton made a play reminiscent of the one featured in Game 111. Jorge Posada lofted a fly ball to center that looked like it would surely be a home run. Lofton once again showed off the vertical leap from his past life as a D1 basketball star. A perfectly timed leap allowed him to bring Posada’s home back over the wall. Back on the warning track, Lofton gingerly flipped the ball from his glove as Posada rounded second and headed back to the dugout. 

In the top of the third, Clemens struck out Omar and then retired Robbie Alomar on a groundout. Clemens then lost his command and composure for a bit. Manny Ramierez started the two-out rally by drawing a walk. Jim Thome’s double to right put Manny on third base. Manny was able to scamper home on a passed ball with David Segui at the plate. Segui eventually walked, as did Travis Fryman. However, Branyan left the bases loaded when he struck out. 

Colon blew through the Yankees lineup in the middle innings with great force. In the bottom of the sixth he struck out the pinstripe side. All three Yankees went down looking. In a post-game interview, Derek Jeter admitted “He’s one of the few pitchers who can overpower you. He basically dominated the game.”

The Yankees got their second baserunner of the night in the bottom of the seventh when David Justice drew a seven-pitch walk. Colon quickly retired Tito Martinez and Jorge Posada to strand Justice at second. 

Bartolo struck out Glenallen Hill to lead off the top of the eighth. His Dominican countryman and long-time friend Luis Polonia stepped to the plate. Polonia knocked Colon’s first pitch cleanly into center field. Polonia said, “He’d been throwing me fastballs all night and I was looking for one.”

Colon returned to pitch the bottom of the ninth and again struck out the Yankees side. The final out was Derek Jeter. When Jeter struck out looking, it ended his streak of getting on base in 41 straight games. However, he could not end another streak. The Yankees had not been no hit for 6,637 games–since Hoyt Wilhelm did it for the Orioles on September 20th, 1958. In 2003, the Astros threw a combined no-hitter in Yankee stadium using six different pitchers. 

Bartolo’s line of 1 hit, 1 walk, and 13 strikeouts was the best of his career so far. Of course, he would go on to become “Big Sexy”, the winningest Latin-American pitcher with 247 wins and the oldest player to hit his first career home run. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 77

June 26, 1998 – Bartolo Colon and Ricky Gutierrez Battle Through 20-Pitch At Bat

On a hot Friday night, the Astros were visiting Jacobs Field for an interleague matchup. Both were talented clubs coming into mid-season form. The Indians were 9 games ahead in the Central Division, while Houston led the NL central by five games.

The Indians were throwing ace Bartolo Colon against the Astros Pete Schourek. Colon faced his first challenge in the top of the third. He walked Ricky Gutierrez to start the inning. Brad Ausmus the singled to center. A Craig Biggio single plated Gutierrez. Bill Spiers was up next. Spiers grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but Ausmus managed to score from third, putting the Astros up 2-0.

The Tribe went for fundamentals in the bottom of the third. Omar Vizquel had a leadoff single, stole second, was bunted over to third by Shawon Dunston, and driven home by a Manny Ramirez single.

Colon continued to pitch both efficiently and effectively. Through seven innings he had given up only 5 hits and 1 walk on 84 total pitches.

In the bottom of the seventh with Ramirez on first and two outs, the Indians got a rally going. Manny stole second and then Houston reliever Mike Magnante walked Jim Thome. Sandy Alomar drove in Ramirez with a line drive double into center field. David Justice walked to load the bases.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Mark Whiten drove Magnante’s fourth pitch through the left side of the infield to score Thome and Alomar. Travis Fryman struck out to end the inning, but the Indians led 4-2.

Astros shortstop Ricky Gutierrez stepped in against Colon to lead of the top of the eighth. Gutierrez swung and missed at the first pitch. On the second pitch, Gutierrez took another big cut. The bat slipped out of his hands and spiraled into the stands for the second strike. He fouled off the third pitch, and things began to get interesting. The fourth pitch was a ball outside. Gutierrez fouled off another, and then pitch number six was another ball outside. Now on a 2-2 count Gutierrez fouled off six straight pitches. Pitch thirteen was a ball in the dirt and the crowd was beginning to buzz. Gutierrez then fouled off another six straight pitches.

At this point, Bartolo had thrown more pitches to the Houston shortstop than he had thrown in any other inning of this game (17 in the third was the largest pitch count). On the twentieth pitch of the at-bat, Gutierrez struck out swinging. The crowd gave the pair a standing ovation. A quick check with Elias Sports Bureau revealed that this was the longest at-bat for which there were reliable records.

In 2012, High Heat Stats analyzed the averages pitches per plate appearance. In 1998, the average pitches per plate appearance was 3.7. This record-breaking at bat was 5.4 times longer than average.

Paul Assenmacher matched up with Sean Barry to start the top of the ninth, and then Michael Jackson recorded the last three outs of the game and was awarded the save.

In 2018, Brandon Belt of the Giants and Angels pitcher Jaime Barrias surpassed this record with a 21-pitch at bat and eventually flied out.

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Honorable Mention: July 1, 2015 – Carrasco One Out Short of No-Hitter

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention: June 27, 2003 – Indians Defeat Reds After LeBron Throws Out First Pitch, Day After NBA Draft

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Game 67

June 21, 1999 – Indians Score Walk-Off Run on Wild Pitch by Jose Mesa

Summer had arrived in Cleveland and the Indians were off to a strong start with 45 wins in their first 66 games. The Mariners were in town on this Monday night throwing Jamie Moyer against Bartolo Colon.

Colon and Moyer dueled through the early innings, and the score remained 0-0 until the bottom of the fifth. Alex Ramirez led off the Indians half of the inning with a ground-ball single to center. Jeff Manto executed a sacrifice bunt to move him over to second base, and Enrique Wilson drove Ramirez home with a line drive single to left.

Omar Vizquel led off the bottom of the sixth with a line drive single to center. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third with Alex Ramirez at bat. With two outs on a 2-2 pitch, Ramirez shot a line drive through the hole on the left side of the infield scoring Vizquel and making the score 2-0 Indians.

Bartolo pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, but began to lose control in the top of the eighth. After striking out Russ Davis on four pitches, he gave up consecutive singles to Dan Wilson and Brian Hunter. He got Alex Rodriguez to pop out after an eight-pitch at bat and then the call was made for Paul Assenmacher to face Ken Griffey Junior.

Junior got the Mariners on the board with a line drive over second base, which scored Dan Wilson. Paul Shuey was brought in to replace Assenmacher. With Edgar Martinez at the plate, Brian Hunter and Junior executed a double steal. With both runners now in scoring position, Edgar looped a single into short right field and made the score 3-2 M’s.

Jeff Fassero came in to pitch for the Mariners, and started off strong. He struck out David Justice and got Ritchie Sexon to ground out weakly back to the mound. He issued a walk to Jim Thome, and then Alex Ramirez battled through an epic at-bat to draw an 11-pitch walk. Robbie Alomar came in to pinch hit for Jeff Manto and loaded the bases with a single. Enrique Wilson drew a six-pitch walk to push Thome across and tie the game 3-3.

The Indians had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but Alex Ramirez struck out swinging to send the game into extra frames. The Mariners threatened several times, leaving runners on base in the tops of the tenth,  eleventh, and twelfth.

In the bottom of the eleventh, the Mariners brought on former Indians closer Jose Mesa to pitch to the heart of the Indians order. He faced off against Omar Vizquel to lead off the eleventh. This is one of the few times in his post-Indians career that Mesa did not intentionally throw at Vizquel. The tension of extra inning was evidently enough to set aside their long standing feud.

Mesa retired the Indians side in order in the eleventh, but ran into immediate trouble in the twelfth when Jim Thome led off with a single. Alex Ramirez executed a sacrifice bunt to move Thome into scoring position. Mesa intentionally walked Roberto Alomar to get to Enrique Wilson who singled to left to load the bases.

Mesa had recorded his first save against  the Indians earlier in the year, in Game 26 of 1999, but had not faced this kind of pressure cooker bases loaded situation against his former team. Facing Chris Turner, his pitch sailed inside and got past M’s catcher Dan Wilson. Thome scampered home for the walkoff win.

This was the Indians 9th win in 10 games and their 11th win of the season in their final at-bat.

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Honorable Mention: June 27, 1936 – Roy Weatherly Records Two Triples in His First Major League Game

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Game 61

June 14, 1997 – First Interleague Win

On June 14, 1997 the Indians played a game in St. Louis for the first time since 1953 when the Browns became the Orioles. Despite both teams being foundational members of their League (St. Louis since 1900 and Cleveland since 1901) they had never crossed paths in the World Series. The Indians faced Brooklyn in the 1920 Series, the Boston Braves in 1948, the New York Giants in 1954, and the Atlanta Braves in 1995. Otherwise, they had played outside the American League only in Spring Training.

Over 43,000 were in Busch Stadium for this new and novel matchup on a Saturday afternoon. Bartolo Colon faced off against Cardinals righty Andy Benes. In the bottom of the second, Benes helped out his own cause with an RBI single to right field. However, a spot-on throw by Marquis Grissom put Mike DiFelice out trying to advance from first to third to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, Colon gave up a leadoff home run to John Mabry and a double to Gary Gaetti. Gaetti was driven in by DeFelice to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

The Indians bats finally came alive in the top of the seventh. After a leadoff ground out by Sandy Alomar, Marquis Grissom singled to right and then stole second. Brian Giles drove in Grissom with a line drive single to left field. After a fly out by Omar Vizquel, Julio Franco singled to center and advanced Giles to second. Jim Thome pushed both Giles and Franco across the plate with a deep line drive to left field, tying the game 3-3.

Albie Lopez pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh.

Albie Lopez

In the top of the 8th, the Indians manufactured five runs on four hits. A throwing error by Delino DeShields extended the inning after Omar Vizquel grounded to second.

With an 8-3 lead, Alvin Morman and Paul Shuey both chewed through the Cardinals lineup on eleven and fourteen pitches, respectively. This sealed the Indians first inter-league win. In the inter-league era, the Indians are 16-10 against the Cardinals and 137-146 overall.

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Game 8

April 10, 1998
Jim Thome Walkoff HR in Home Opener

This is the final Home Opener in our series and one of the latest in Indians history. The Tribe opened the season at a blistering pace, defeating Seattle in the first two games, sweeping a weekend series in Anaheim, and then splitting 1-1 with Oakland before returning to Cleveland on April 10th.

With the near-miss disappointment of the 1997 World Series still stinging, the 1998 campaign began with great hope, and with a 7-1 record heading into the home opener sold-out Jacobs Field was electric.

The 1998 Indians would go on to lead the Central Division wire-to-wire. This is the first and only time in franchise history that the Tribe has been atop the standings for the duration of the season.

Bartolo Colon matched up with Allen Watson in the contest. The Indians got on the board early when Kenny Lofton hit a leadoff double, stole third base, and was driven home by a Shawon Dunston sacrifice fly. Later in the inning, Travis Fryman would double, scoring David Justice.

The Angels scored in the top of the second when, with runners on first and third, Norberto Martin drove a single into right field scoring Jim Edmunds.

Colon began to lose his command in the 5th. He gave up a fly-ball out to Darin Erstad, and consecutive singles to Dave Hollins and Tim Salmon. Jim Edmunds punched a ball between second and short, scoring Hollins. Salmon rounded third and a rare throwing error by Kenny Lofton allowed him to score. Paul Shuey would replace Colon later in the inning.

The game remained locked at 4-4 until the bottom of the 7th inning, when David Justice hit a line drive single into short right field, scoring Omar Vizquel.

In the top of the 9th, Indians reliever Michael Jackson hit Dave Hollins with an 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning. A Jim Edmunds double put Hollins on third. Cecil Fielder grounded one back to the pitcher, catching Jim Edmunds in a P-3B-C-SS-3B rundown. Damon Mashore came in to pinch run for Fielder at 3B and was driven in by Garrett Anderson to tie the game.

Eric Plunk retired the Angels in order in the 10th. In the bottom of the 10th, Jim Thome clubbed a 1-1 pitch onto the home run porch in left field. Thome would go on to be the Indians all-time home run leader with 317, and would finish his Hall of Fame career with an MLB record 13 walk-off home runs (9 with the Indians).