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Game 37

May 25, 1926 – George Uhle Walks Off His Own 11 Inning Complete Game

George “Bull” Uhle was the most dominant pitcher of 1926. Uhle was a native Clevelander and graduate of West High School. As a teenager, he played in the semi-pro industrial leagues around Cleveland, eventually landing a spot on the Standard Parts team, and a lucrative manufacturing job with Standard. 

Standard Parts Team Picture – Ebay User r.cedeno

In 1919, Uhle reported to Indians Spring Training in New Orleans with a stipulation in his contract that he could not be sent to the minor leagues. He was resolved to return to Cleveland either on the roster or to his job. He later said. “If I wasn’t good enough for the majors, I wanted my release. I figured I could do better working at Standard Parts.”

Uhle earned a spot on the pitching staff, and developed his game throughout the 1920’s, including pitching in the 1920 World Series. A ligament ailment set him back a bit in the early half of the decade, but by 1926 he was hitting his stride.  

Sunny Jim Dunn

The St. Louis Browns were at League Park (then called Dunn Field after owner Sunny Jim Dunn) for a Tuesday afternoon contest. George Uhle was matched up with Tom Zachary of the Browns.

Harry Rice led off the game for St. Louis with a double into left field. After two outs, Ken Williams doubled into left. Rice scored easily and put the Browns up 1-0 in the early going. 

In the bottom of the second inning, the Indians got on the board when George Burns dropped a double into right and then was driven in by a Homer Summa single to tie the game. 

The starting pitchers battled through the first six innings, until the Tribe broke through against Zachary. In the bottom of the sixth Luke Sewell led off with a single into right field. Batting at the bottom of the order, Uhle singled to center, advancing Sewell to third base. 

Charlie Jamieson and Freddy Spurgeon reached on consecutive errors by Browns second baseman Ski Mellilo. Tris Speaker scored Uhle on a fielder’s choice. Joe Sewell walked, and then Jamieson scored on a sacrifice fly by George Burns, bringing the score to 4-1 Indians. 

In the top of the eighth inning, Pinky Hargrave knocked a two-run home run into the League Park seats, bringing the Browns within one run. 

Gene Robertson pinch hit for Zachary in the top of the ninth inning. He drove a triple to the center field wall. Robertson scored on a throwing error to tie the game. 

Win Ballou came in to pitch for the Browns in the bottom of the ninth. The Indians threatened, but left the bases loaded to send the game to extra frames. 

George Uhle

Uhle only seemed to get stronger as the day went on. He retired the side in order in both the tenth and eleventh innings. Uhle achieved his season-high strikeout total with ten. 

In the bottom of the eleventh, Homer Summa drew a walk to lead things off. Rube Lutzke dropped a bunt down the first base line which moved Summa over to second. Luke Sewell knocked a single into right field. Brown’s outfielder Harry Rice fielded the ball and fired home. He gunned down Summa for the second out of the inning while Sewell advanced to second. 

Uhle stepped to the plate looking to help out his own cause. The Bull blasted a walk-off home run over the tall right field wall at League Park. He sealed the win for the Indians and the best outing of his career. 

Solid hitting was not unusual for Uhle, whose .289 career batting average is the highest for any pitcher (playing only as a pitcher). After four years with the Tigers, Uhle spent a few years as a player-coach in various organizations. After baseball, he returned once again to the Cleveland area. He lived in Lakewood until he passed away in 1985.

Baseball Reference Box Score

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Game 36

May 15, 2012 – Derek Lowe Throws Complete Game Shutout without Recording a Strikeout

Derek Lowe had long been known as a ground-ball pitcher who relied on his strong sinker. That sinker carried him through a 16-year MLB career and ensured that he would never buy a drink in Boston after a 3-0 playoff record in the Red Sox’s historic 2004 World Series run.

Game 36 of 2013 was perhaps the purest distillation of Lowe’s style. Against a Twins team that was scuffling on offense and had been particularly inept against ground-ball pitchers, Lowe induced 20 ground-ball outs including four double-plays.

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

He was supported with RBI singles in the second and third by Casey Kotchman and Asdrubal Cabrera, respectively. Things got out of hand for Twins starter Jason Marquis in the top of the 5th. He gave up solo home runs to Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Carlos Santana to bring the score to 5-0.

Lowe cruised through the Twins lineup. In the 5th, 6th, and 9th all three outs came on ground balls. He threw 127 pitches, 76 of which were strikes.

Other pitchers have made the transition from starter to closer, but few have done it as seamlessly as Lowe. Only John Smoltz, Dennis Eckersley, and Derek Lowe have more than 160 wins and more than 80 saves.

In a post-game interview, a reporter observed that his season strikeout total (13) was nearly matched by his double-play count (10). Lowe quipped, “If all goes well, I should get to 40 [strikeouts] by the end of the year.”

Later in the 2012 season, Lowe was designated for assignment in order to make a roster spot for a young ground-ball pitcher with a wicked sinker–Corey Kluber.

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