Game 139

September 4, 1996 – Chad Ogea 4-Hit Complete Game Shutout

The dominant Indians were visiting County Stadium in Milwaukee for a mid-week series. The first-place Indians were 15 games ahead of the Brewers in the AL Central standings at this point, but the Tribe were looking for redemption.

Cleveland lost the opening game of the series in walkoff fashion when Jose Mesa gave up the tying run on a wild pitch and then gave up a game-winning single to Jose Valentin. The night before, Orel Hersheiser had a rare klunker of an outing and the Indians lost 8-2. Chad Ogea was matched up with Jeff D’Amico for the final contest of the series. 

Albert Belle staked Ogea to an early lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the first that scored Kevin Seitzer and Jim Thome. 

Sandy Alomar led off the bottom of the second with a single into right field. After two quick outs, Kenny Lofton made it a 4-0 game when he took D’Amico deep to right field for his 13th home run of the year. 

Ogea did not allow a baserunner until the bottom of the fourth when Dave Nilsson poked a single into right field. The Brewers had a bit of a threat going with runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Ogea got Matt Mieske to strike out swinging and Mike Matheny to fly out to center to put the threat aside. 

Brewers reliever Ramon Garcia gave up a single to Kenny Lofton to lead off the top of the seventh. Then, he hit Kevin Seitzer with the 0-1 pitch. Ron Villone replaced Garcia on the mound. Jim Thome stepped in and launched Villone’s very first pitch into deep left center to put the Indians up 7-0. 

Ogea had worked very efficiently. Coming into the bottom of the ninth he had given up only 4 hits and one walk on 97 pitches. 

He got Dave Nelson to fly out on the 0-1 pitch. John Jaha grounded out on Ogeo’s 100th pitch of the night. It took him four pitches to retire Jose Valentin on a fly ball to right and complete the shutout. Although he missed the Maddux by a few pitches, it was probably Ogea’s finest pitching performance of his six year career. 

Baseball Reference Box Score 


Game 138

September 3, 1986 – Joe Carter Racks Up 5 of the Indians 23 Hits

Greg Swindell was matched up with Juan Nieves of the Brewers for the Saturday game in a weekend series in Milwaukee. The Brewers were a mess in the early going. The Indians scored seven runs on seven hits and three errors in the top half of the first inning. The parade of hits included a double by Joe Carter, and RBI singles by Julio Franco, Pat Tabler, Brook Jacoby, and Andy Allanson. Allanson’s single chased Nieves from the game after only ⅔ of an inning.

Swindell retired the Brewers in order in the bottom of the first, and reliever Mark Knudson was back on the mound before he could catch his breath. He gave up a leadoff single to Julio Franco, and then Joe Carter drove one over the wall in right center. Carter’s homer extended the Indians lead to 9-0.

Carter led off the top of the fourth with a single to left and was then driven in by Carmello Castillo. 

In the top of the fifth, Knudson retired Tony Bernazard and Brett Butler to kick off the inning. Julio Franco reached on a line drive single to left. Joe Carter stepped in and once again cranked a two-run home run. 

The Brewers finally got to Swindell in the bottom of the fifth. They scored two runs on three hits, cutting the Indians lead to 12-2. 

The Tribe notched another four runs in the top of the sixth on four hits including homers by Jacoby and Bernazard.

Swindell gave up a home run to Dale Sveum to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Swindell was soon replaced on the mound by Don Schulze. The Indians bullpen was less effective than Swindell had been. Schulze, Bryan Oelkers, and Rich Yett combined to give up four runs on five hits over the final four innings including a three-run home run by Jim Gantner in the bottom of the sixth. 

Carter led off the top of the seventh with his second double of the day. He came around to score on a Cory Snyder single. Milwaukee reliever Tim Leary got Carter to strikeout looking to end the Indians half of the eighth. The Tribe went on to win 17 to 9 in a sloppy game that featured 34 hits and seven errors. 

Carter’s four RBIs put hit at 100 for the year. He would go on to lead the MLB with 121 RBIs for the season. This was the third time in 1986 he collected five hits in a game. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 52

May 31, 1996 Albert Belle Flattens Fernando Vina to Break Up Double Play

Albert Belle was a prolific slugger with undoubtable anger issues. From cursing out rep0orters to chasing kids with his truck on Halloween and smashing the clubhouse thermostat there are numerous anecdotes of his wrath. However, the highlight that is most often used to make the point in retrospectives may be more nuanced than most people remember.

The Indians were in the middle of a weekend series in Milwaukee. Dennis Martinez was matched up with the Brewers’ Ben McDonald. With one out in the top of the second, Manny Ramirez smacked a line drive home run deep down the left field left field line, scoring Jim Thome.

In the top of the third, after adding a run on an RBI single, Albert Belle was on first when Eddie Murray came to the plate. He hit a grounder that Fernando Vina fielded between first and second. Vina almost casually tagged Belle in the baseline and completed the double play by throwing Murray out at first.  

First base coach Davey Nelson had just told Belle to look out for the double play ball. After the play, Nelson was incensed. In a later interview with Spike Lee on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Nelson recounted, “`Now it’s three outs. So Albert’s standing out on the infield, and I go out there … and I said, `Dammit Albert, what did I tell you?′ I said … `You cost us a … run, and you should have took the guy out.‴

After Milwaukee pieced together four hits and took advantage of a throwing error in the bottom of the 3rd, the score was tied 3-3.

The Indians began to pull away, scoring once in the 4th and 5th. The Tribe then took advantage of two Brewer errors in the bottom of the 7th, extending the inning and eventually pushing four runs across the plate.

In the top of the 8th, Marshall Boze hit Belle with a pitch to lead off the Inning. After Jim Thome struck out, Belle was once again on first base with Eddie Murray at the plate. Murray bounced an almost identical grounder to Vina at second base. Vina turned to tag Belle and was met with a forearm shiver that sent him sprawling to the dirt. Murray was safe at first. Murray later scored the Indians 10th run on an RBI single by Tony Pena.

Back in the dugout, Belle said something to Indians reliever Julian Tavarez, reportedly telling him to throw at a Milwaukee batter. Tavarez’s first pitch in the ninth went about five feet behind Brewers’ catcher Mike Matheny. The benches emptied and the brawl was on.

Once the dust cleared, Indians reliever Jim Poole secured the final three outs and the 10-4 victory. Later, in the Spike Lee interview, Albert Belle reflected on the play, “`I was going to make sure the next time it happens I wasn’t going to be as lenient.”

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention: May 27, 2008 Triple Steal on Botched Rundown


Game 25

Larvell Blanks Walkoff Homer in Pitching Duel

Pitcher Jim Bibby had been brought to the Indians in a trade for Gaylord Perry. Both were talented pitchers of the era, and both had pitched no-hitters (Perry for the Giants in 1968 and Bibby in 1973 for the Cardinals against the defending champion A’s.)

Jim Bibby

However, Perry had a long-stewing feud with player-manager Frank Robinson. In 1974 when Robinson was claimed off waivers, Perry was the indisputable leader of the clubhouse–or at least the white clubhouse. Off the field, the team was largely divided along racial lines. There was a well-publicized locker room blowup when Robinson caught word that Perry intended to demand “the same salary, plus a dollar more” than what Robinson was making.

When Frank Robinson became player-manager of the Tribe in 1975–the first black manager in baseball–Perry undermined his authority in the clubhouse on everything from the conditioning regimen during Spring Training to whether pitchers could take infield practice. By late June, GM Phil Seghi was forced to trade both of the Perry brothers in an attempt to bring peace to the locker room.

Game 25 of the 1977 season was postponed from Monday night due to the cold. The resulting double-header began at 2PM on Tuesday. Jim Bibby would face off with Jim Slaton of the Brewers in what would become a great pitchers duel.

Bibby cruised through the beginning of the game, retiring the Brewers 1-2-3 in the first, third, fourth, fifth, and eighth innings. He issued only one walk in the top of the 6th.

Slaton was less efficient, scattering five hits and issuing five walks. Both teams struggled offensively. The Indians left seven men stranded on base.

Bibby was tested in the 6th 7th and 9th innings, but he was able to get out of each jam. The Brewers were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

In the bottom of the 9th, after a groundout by John Lowenstein, shortstop Larvell Blanks stepped to the plate. By the middle of 1977, Blanks was having his own issues with Frank Robinson. In 1976 he batted .280 while appearing in 104 games for the Tribe. Larvell felt that he ought to be starting over Frank Duffy, who was a better defensive shortstop who had only hit .212 the previous year.

Blanks launched a home run into the cold Muni Stadium afternoon. The walk off homer sealed a complete game shutout for Jim Bibby, spoiled a potential complete game for Slaton, and furthered Blanks’ case for the starting shortstop position. Discontent in the clubhouse continued to grow over playing time and personnel issues, and Frank Robinson was let go after Game 77 of the 1977 season. Larvell Blanks would see more playing time under the new manager Jeff Torborg, but would later be traded to the Rangers in a deal for Len Barker.

Baseball Reference