Game 125

August 23, 2011 – Shin-Soo Choo Hits a Double in the Midst of an Earthquake–and Later a Walkoff Home Run

Game 125 of the 2011 Season was the first game of a day-night doubleheader. The doubleheader was the result of a rainout in an earlier series against the Mariners in May. Justin Masterson was matched up with Blake Beavan for the afternoon contest. 

Indians centerfielder Kosuke Fukudome started off the scoring in the bottom of the first when he drove in Ezequiel Carrera with an RBI double. The M’s evened the score at 1-1 in the second via a Miguel Olivo RBI single. 

In the bottom of the third, Shin-Soo Choo was at the plate with two outs when the stadium began to lightly shake and sway. Tom Hamilton remarked, “Boy, the press box here is really shaking. What is the world is going on?” Choo drove a fly ball into the right field gap, which went for a double. 

The shaking turned out to be a magnitude 5.9 earthquake centered near Richmond, Virginia. Earthquakes occurring in the eastern United States can generally can be felt over a broader distance than those in the west due differences in bedrock geology. Several downtown Cleveland office buildings were evacuated, but the game continued. Choo was left on base when Calos Santana flied out to end the inning. 

Later, Fukudome doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Lonnie Chisenhall gave the Tribe the lead once again when he drove in Fukudome with a single through the left side of the infield. 

The Mariners retook the lead in the top of the fifth. Trayvon Robinson doubled to left field then Ichiro knocked a single into right. Always hustling, Ichiro advanced to second on the throw home to challenge Robinson at the plate. Franklin Gutierrez then drove in Ichiro with a double into left-center. 

Fukudome came through again with a single in the bottom of the sixth. He was pushed across the plate by Matt LaPorta’s sacrifice fly. An inning later, Carlos Santana gave the Indians the 4-3 lead by way of an RBI single. Unfortunately, Choo was put out at third on a throw from right field which squashed the Indians’ momentum for a time. 

Justin Masterson had pitched a strong 8 ⅓ innings. When he gave up consecutive singles to Miguel Olivo and Kyle Seager, it was clear his day was done. Closer Chris Perez came in seeking the final two outs. 

Instead, Trayvon Robinson drove a double down the right field line which scored the runners on first and third and give Seattle a 5-4 lead. 

Brandon League came on to pitch for the M’s and put Ezequiel Carrera and pinch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrerea on to lead off the inning. Shin-Soo Choo stepped in with Carrera and Cabrerra at the corners Choo smacked League’s first pitch over the left field wall to give the Indians their sixth walk-off homer of the year. 

Choo had returned to the ballpark only two hours before game time on Tuesday. His daughter had been born at Fairview Hospital the prior afternoon. He had not planned to play in the double-header, but with Hafner, Kipnis, Sizemore, and Brantley out for the game the Indians asked if he would be willing to play. “It was up to my wife,” Choo said. “She understands the baseball life and told me to go.”

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention – August 22, 1989 – Felix Fermin Records Four Sacrifice Hits

Felix Fermin had a sacrifice bunts in the first, fifth, seventh, and ninth innings of this game. In his at-bat in the third inning he grounded into a double-play. Only one MLBer had ever recorded four sacrifice hits in a game before–Ray Chapman of the Indians in Game 115 of the 1919 Season.

Despite the general decline in sacrifice hitting over the years, two players have completed this feat since Fermin–Kris Benson of the Pirates in 2004 and Corey Sullivan of the Rockies in 2006. Fermin remains the only player to have four sacrifices in a game played with the DH.

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 58

June 2, 2014 – Masterson’s Immaculate Inning and 25 Consecutive Strikes

The Red Sox were visiting Progressive Field to start a weekday series and had John Lackey matched up against Justin Masterson. The Red Sox came out strong, loading the bases on Masterson before Jonny Gomes struck out swinging to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 1st with Michael Bourn on 3rd and Michael Brantley on 2nd Lonnie Chisenhall slapped a single down the left field line for two RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera pushed Bourn across in the bottom of the 3rd on an RBI single making the score 3-0.

In the top of the 4th, Justin Masterson struck out Jonny Gomes swinging on three pitches. Next up was Masterson’s former teammate Grady Sizemore. Grady took the first strike, fouled the second pitch off his ankle, and struck out swinging. Stephen Drew took the first two strikes, and then was called out on a check swing on a ball in the dirt. 9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 outs–Immaculate Inning.

Not only did he strike out the side on nine pitches, but these nine were part of a run of 25 consecutive strikes from the top of the 3rd to the top of the 6th.

Overall, Masterson struck out ten. 67 of his 105 pitches were strikes.

Despite a 2-run homer off Bryan Shaw by Xander Bogarts, the Indians bullpen was able to hold on and secure the win.

Masterson was the first Indian ever to complete this rare feat. There have been 95 immaculate innings thrown in MLB history to date. Three years later, Carlos Carrasco threw the Tribe’s second immaculate inning in Game 85 of 2017.

In Game 20 of 2018, Yonder Alonso, Yan Gomes, and Bradley Zimmer fell victim to an Immaculate inning thrown by the Orioles Kevin Gausman. However, the Indians would still go on to win that game 2-1.

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 6

April 7, 2013

In Game 1 of 2013, Justin Masterson and the Indians defeated the Blue Jays behind NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who had been traded from the Mets in the offseason.

The Indians sat at 2-3 on the season coming into Game 6 against the Rays. The Tribe Entered Sunday afternoon at the Trop’ with reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price on the mound. It seemed a cruel twist of fate to face both of the previous year’s Cy Young winners in the first week of the season.

Masterson pitched a gem of a game. Seven innings, eight strikeouts, and only three walks. Masterson faced a bases-loaded threat only once in the bottom of the first. With Ben Zobrist on third, Evan Longoria on second, and James Loney on first, Masterson struck out Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar on three straight pitches to end the threat.

Michael Bourn led off the game with a double and then stole third, but the Indians were retired without scoring. In the top of the 2nd, Drew Stubbs drove in Mike Aviles to put the Tribe on the board.

In the top of the 3rd, Price walked Asdrubal Cabrera and Ryan Raburn. After a lineout by Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds hit a home run to deep center field. After that, the rout was on. Lonnie Chisenhall, and Michael Bourn notched their first home runs of the season. Carlos Santana had an incredible day with 5 hits in 5 appearances, including a line drive home run off the right field foul pole to add an exclamation point to the  13-0 game.

After the game, Masterson demurred with some solid pitcher platitudes,

”The boys came out and they just bamboozled, just started hitting some balls,” Masterson said. ”It was pretty cool to see. That’s pretty much the testament. They played good defense, made some good plays out there, and they were just crushing balls. And they were putting runs on the board, and it makes the job on the pitcher a lot easier.”

In 1989 Bruce Hurst and the San Diego Padres defeated Orel Hershiser with the Dodgers and Frank Viola after Viola was traded from the Twins to the Mets at the trade deadline in 1989. Pitching for the Braves in 2003, Shane Reynolds defeated Randy Johnson with the Diamondbacks and Barry Zito with the Athletics in an interleague game. However, Masterson is the only pitcher to have accomplished this unlikely feat, dueling with the reigning Cy Young winners in consecutive starts and coming out on top.