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 104

August 1, 1990 – Alex Cole Steals Five Bases

By the first of August 1990, the Indians were eight games back of the frontrunning Blue Jays in the American League East. The the visiting Royals were dead last in the AL West, sixteen games behind Oakland, making this game…pretty much irrelevant except for the arrival of Alex Cole. 

Cole made his first appearance with the Indians on July 27th, 1990. Cultivated as an outfielder with blinding speed on the basepaths, Cole was eager to prove himself at the big league level. 

The Royals jumped out to an early lead against Greg Swindell when Bill Pecota doubled and then was driven home by Gerald Perry’s line drive single to center. 

Alex Cole led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk. With left fielder Mitch Webster at the plate, Cole stole second. Webster flied out, and Jerry Browne came to bat. Cole stole third. Browne knocked a double into left field, and Cole’s run tied the game. 

In the bottom of the third, Cole was hit by Mark Davis’ pitch. MItch Webster popped out, and again with Jerry Browne at the plate, Cole stole second. By the third inning, he had three stolen bases without yet recording a hit. 

In the bottom of the fifth, the Tribe offense got going. Tom Brookens doubled into center field to get things started. Alex Cole poked a single through the right side of the infield to score Brookens. Cole stole second and then was driven home by Mitch Webster’s double into center field. Not to be outdone, Webster stole third with Jerry Browne at the plate. Browne’s sacrifice fly plated Webster to make the score 4-1 Indians. 

Cole singled to left in the bottom of the seventh, stayed put on a Webster fly-out, and then stole second with Browne at the plate. Swindell and closer Doug Jones made the 4-1 lead stand up.

Twenty-seven players have stolen five or more bases in a single game under the modern rules.  Eddie Collins stole six bases for the Athletics twice in the 1916 season–a feat which was unmatched until Carl Crawford stole six for the Rays in 2009. Cole stole five bases again in Game 26 of 1992. Kenny Lofton is the only other Indian to complete the feat, in Game 133 of 2000. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 48

May 28, 1989 – Joe Carter Walkoff Bunt

The Indians came into this Sunday afternoon game on a five game losing streak, and trying to avoid a sweep by the Orioles. Pitcher Greg Swindell later remarked to the media, “Everybody was feeling the pressure of the losing streak. The players were ducking their heads. They were walking on the field instead of running. I wanted to pump this team up.”

On Swindell’s suggestion the Indians even switched bat boys in an attempt to break the losing streak. Matt Rowland, who usually the Indians’ bats, was told to put on the visiting uniform. Mark Haas, who normally serves in the visiting dugout was directed to wear an Indians uniform.

Despite the superstitions, Orioles’ Bob Milacki was nearly unhittable through the first eight innings. In 8 ⅓ innings, Milacki struck out six and gave up only two walks and two hits.

Likewise Swindell, who was used to putting the struggling Indians on his back (as discussed in Game 45) walked four, and held the Orioles hitless through six innings.. He worked efficiently, retiring the Orioles in order in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings. After 27 batters, he had used only 117 pitches, but the Tribe had provided zero support.

Felix Fermin drew a walk off Milacki to lead off the bottom of the ninth. When Milacki got behind 2-0 to Indians left fielder Oddibe McDowell, Baltimore made a move to the bullpen. Mark Williamson came into the game in relief and McDowell moved Fermin over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Fermin reached third on a infield ground-out by Jerry Brown.

The powerful Joe Carter stepped to the plate with two outs. Manager Doc Edwards relayed a signal to the third base coach. Indians’ manager Doc Edwards signaled to third base coach Jim Davenport to relay the message to Carter.

In a post-game interview he said, “It was not an order to bunt. It was a signal to look at the third baseman and use his own judgment. Joe was definitely bunting on his own, but we all knew he was going to do it.”

Carter laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line. Fermin scored the winning run, and the Indians ended the losing streak on a 40-foot bunt off the bat of their most prolific power hitter.

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 45

Swindell near-Maddux Marred by Baerga Error

First off, ‘What’s a Maddux?” Jason Lukehart invented the term, and is the best resource to explain it in full. In short, The starting pitcher must toss a shutout, and he must throw fewer than 100 pitches.

Greg Swindell came into 1991 as one one of the best young pitchers in the majors on a historically bad team. Swindell lead the League in walks per 9 innings and strikeout/walk ratio, but still ended the season with 16 losses. The 1991 Indians scored 98 fewer runs than any other team in the American League, averaging only 3.6 runs per game.

No single game exemplifies Swindell’s talent and the 1991 team’s ineptitude more than Game 45.

Over 22,000 fans came out to Municipal Stadium on a beautiful June Saturday see Swindell match up with Bill Gullickson and the Tigers. With one out in the top of the first, Swindell hit Lou Whitaker with a pitch. Then, Carlos Baerga booted a grounder by Alan Trammel, allowing Trammel to reach on the error put Whitaker on third. Next up, Cecil Fielder hit a weak grounder to shortstop, scoring Whitaker on the fielder’s choice.

In the bottom of the first, Mark Lewis reached on a single to right field. Chris James sent a line drive triple to to center, allowing Lewis to score easily.

In the bottom of the fourth, Tribe catcher Joel Skinner drove home Brook Jacoby with a line drive to short left field. Carlos Baerga led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. With two outs, and after an intentional walk of Skinner, shortstop Felix Fermin drove in Baerga to bring the score to 3-1.

That was all the run support that Swindell needed. He worked efficiently and ruthlessly through the Detroit lineup. Swindell worked 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. He needed only 90 pitches to dispatch the Tigers, 68 of which were strikes. He issued no walks, and struck out six. This game would qualify as a Maddux, if not for the unearned run scored after Baerga’s error.

Baseball Reference Box Score