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 11

April 17, 1992 – Charles Nagy Complete Game Win

The first inning was a rough one, with two hits, a walk and a wild pitch putting the Indians in the hole by a run to start the game.

However, that would be the only multi-hit inning of the game and the only walk recorded. Nagy recorded seven strikeouts–rather high for the pitcher, who usually relied on his sinker to force ground ball outs–and scatter five additional hits over a complete game.

The Indians offense that evening would prefigure some of the offensive explosions the team was famous for in subsequent years. The five-hit, five-run fourth inning featured a towering two-run home run by Albert Belle and a three-run home run by “Hard Hittin” Mark Whiten.

Carlos Baerga would homer in the top of the 5th, followed by Sandy Alomar in the top of the 6th. Ultimately delivering an 11-1 win in Yankee Stadium.

Although he is remembered best for his efforts with the championship teams of the mid-90s, 1992 was perhaps Nagy’s best year in the majors. He had a 17-10 record (.630), far outpacing the Indians overall winning percentage of .469.

This performance, along with other gems in the first half of 1992 earned Nagy a spot in the 1992 All-Star Game. After pitching the bottom of the 7th for the AL, he batted in the 8th because there were no players left to pinch-hit. Nagy wore a Texas Rangers batting helmet and hit an infield single. He is very likely to be the last pitcher ever to get a hit in an All-Star Game, since the designated hitter has been used in all All-Star Games since 2011.