Game 121

August 20, 1992 – Indians Spoil Tapani’s 3-Hitter with Sorrento Walkoff

The Indians started Rod Nichols against Twins workhorse Kevin Tapani on this Thursday night. The Twins were 6 games back in the AL West, but had a talented core. The Tribe were out of contention in the AL East, but young players like Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar, Paul Sorrento, and Jim Thome were beginning to make some noise. 

Tapani pitched masterfully, holding the Indians hitless through six innings. The only Cleveland baserunner was Paul Sorrento who drew a walk in the bottom of the second. 

Nichols scattered a hit or two in nearly every inning, but managed to escape too much damage. The Twins only run came in the top of the fifth when Chuck Knoblauch drove a double into right field. After Randy Bush advanced Knoblauch to third on a groundout, Kirby Puckett sent him home with a double down the right field line.

Tapani continued to guard the 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the seventh “Hard Hittin’” Mark Whiten took the first pitch of the inning deep over the Muni Stadium wall to tie the game 1-1. Tapani then retired the next nine Indians to send the game to extra innings. 

Eric Plunk took over on the mound for the Tribe with two out in the eighth and gave up only two hits in 2 ⅓ innings of work. He held on to the tie and gave the Indians a shot in the bottom of the tenth. 

Carlos Baerga flied out for the first out of the inning. Tapani issued a six-pitch walk to Albert Belle to give the Indians their first baserunner since the top of the fifth. Paul Sorrento stepped in and slapped a line drive down the left field line. Belle motored around from first to score the winning run. 

Tapani was the ultimate hard-luck loser. He went 10 innings, gave up only three hits and two walks. The Twins supported him with eleven hits, but could not push them across the plate. The Twins left eight men on base and were a miserable 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 27

May 3, 1997 -Sandy Alomar Walkoff Hit

Although Indians fans often soured on players from the 90s who left for greener pastures and bigger paychecks, Sandy Alomar is one of the most universally beloved figures from the mid-90s dynasty.

He was often sidelined with injuries, overshadowed by his Hall of Fame brother, or edged out for awards in favor of fellow Puerto-Rican catcher Pudge Rodriguez but throughout the playoff runs of the era he was the undisputed clubhouse leader. Along with his Rookie of the Year 1991 season, 1997 was the year that everything came together for Santos.

Sandy was once again behind the plate as Chad Ogea faced off against the Tiger’s Brian Moehler in this Saturday afternoon contest. The field was soaked after a rainy morning, but the sold-out crowd was in place for this division tilt.

Omar Vizquel walked to lead off the game, and the Indians manufactured a run on groundouts by Tony Fernandez and Jim Thome. Matt Williams would single to first to bring Omar home and get the Tribe on the board.

In the top of the third, the Tigers sent nine batters to the plate. With the bases loaded, Travis Fryman hit a line-drive two-run single. Next up, Tony Clark scorched a three-run home run to deep right center.

Tony Fernandez led off the bottom of the third with a home run. Later in the inning Julio Franco drove in Matt Williams to bring the score to 5-2.

In the bottom of the 8th, Omar Vizquel tied the game on a two-run double to left field off Detroit reliever Dan Miceli.

Eric Plunk was pitching the top of the 9th. He issued a walk to Brian Johnson. The speedy Omar Olivares was sent in to pinch run for Johnson. A wild pitch by Plunk sent Olivares to second. Jody Reed was retired on a fly ball to right, but with two outs on a 0-1 pitch, Brian Hunter knocked a single through the gap between second and short. Olivares scored from second, putting the Tigers up 6-5.

Matt Williams led off the bottom of the ninth with a single over second base. A wild pitch by Tiger’s closer Doug Brocail advanced him to second base. Backup catcher Raul Cassanova lost track of the 2-0 pitch to David Justice, and Williams reached third on the passed ball.

Justice’s deep fly ball to center allowed Williams to tie the game on the sacrifice. Next up, Manny Ramirez would reach on a line drive to short center field. Brocail issued a walk to Julio Franco, sending Manny to second where Chad Curtis would be sent in to pinch run. Brian Giles then grounded to third. The runners advanced, but the Indians were down to their last out.

On a 1-0 pitch, Sandy drove a fly ball to deep right field. It stayed in the park, but easily scored Curtis for the walkoff RBI. This was one of only five walk-off wins in 1997.

Baseball Reference Box Score

Oddity note: Later in the month, during Game 50. Sandy would record the only Indians hit of the game, breaking up Mike Mussina’s bid for a Perfect Game.


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).