Game 159

September 29, 2005 – Sabathia Throws 8 Scoreless Innings in Chase for Wildcard

On August 1st, the White Sox led the AL Central by 15 games. Starting August 1st the Indians went 37-15 to close the gap to three games with four to play. The White Sox were in Detroit looking to avoid a historic late-season collapse. The Indians had Tampa Bay in town and CC Sabathia on the hill against against Casey Fossum. 

The Rays put runners at first and third before CC got himself out of the jam by getting Aubrey Huff to ground out to second. 

Ronnie Belliard

The Tribe got an early lead with some timely two-out hitting in the bottom of the first. Jhonny Perralta drew a walk and was driven in by Travis Hafner’s home run. Victor Martinez poked a single into center before Ronnie Belliard belted one out of the park to make it 4-0 Indians. 

In the bottom of the second Grady Sizemore grounded into a double play that allowed Aaron Boone to scamper home from third. Jhonny Perralta led off the Indians’ half of the third with a homer that chased Fossum from the game. 

Working confidently with a 6-0 lead, Sabathia retired the Rays in order in the fourth, fifth, and eighth innings. Overall, he scattered five hits while striking out nine Rays over eight innings of work. 

Rafael Betancourt came on to close the game and faced only three Rays. He got Jonny Gomes to stike out swinging to end the game.

Sabathia closed out a strong 2005 season with a 15-10 record and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Fangraphs credited him with the fastest fastball velocity in the American League in 2005.  

Despite the strong outing, math was not on the Indian’s side. The White Sox defeated the Tigers later in the day to clinch the division. The next day, Chicago arrived in Cleveland for the final weekend series of the year. The Tribe were still very much alive in the wildcard chase before being swept by the Sox in front of sellout crowds. They handed the wildcard berth to Boston on the final day of the season in their own sort of collapse. 

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 78

July 2, 2015 – Gio Urshela’s Odd Hitting Streak

Closing out the 2014 season, Giovanny Urshela was regarded as the Indians top prospect. He was called up to the Majors on June 8th, and made his debut in Game 59.

By Game 77, Gio has already accomplished something (however odd) that no Indian had ever done. Jason Lukehart of SB Nation noted that Urshela had one hit–and no more–in twelve consecutive games. A search of the baseball reference database revealed that Rocky Colavito had one hit–and no more than one–in eleven consecutive games in 1958, making Urshela the franchise leader for this very odd distinction.

Keeping a hitting streak going is widely regarded as one of the most difficult accomplishments in baseball, where a 30% success rate at the plate can make you an All-Star. However, hitters on a hot streak usually succeed well past the minimum. Urshela’s streak to this point included eleven singles and a home run. He batted .293 during these twelve games–good, but nothing groundbreaking.

Gio’s single hit came in the top of the fourth with a line drive to center off the Rays’ Alex Colome. He advanced to second on a single by Michael Bourn, tagged up on a Roberto Perez fly out, and was driven home by a line drive by Jason Kipnis. Urshela’s run scored was the Indians fifth of the night, and they would go on to win 8-1 behind a brilliant start by Carlos Carrasco wherein he struck out thirteen and only gave up one hit in 8 ⅔ innings of work.

Urshela extended the one-hit streak to 15 games. He was unable to get a hit in Game 81, which was a 5-3 loss in Pittsburgh.

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 46

May 25, 2009 – Memorial Day Miracle

The Indians started Memorial Day 2009 with a disappointing 17-28 record in last place in the AL Central. The Rays were fresh off their surprise appearance in the 2008 World Series, but were also scuffling early in the season. They arrived in Cleveland playing exactly .500 baseball.

Although Progressive Field was customarily unkind to the Rays–they had lost 14 straight at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario–things seemed to be trending upward at the start. The Rays had recalled David Price, who had blossomed in the 2008 playoff run, from AAA Durham to match up with Fausto Carmona.

Fausto pitched a 1-2-3 inning to lead off the game, but lost his control in the second. He walked the first four batters and forced in a run before finally striking out Dioner Navarro. He then gave up consecutive RBI singles and walked Evan Longoria before Eric Wedge made the call to the bullpen.

Jensen Lewis took the mound with the bases loaded and got out of the jam, but not before the score sat at 5-0. The Rays would add on in the third with a two-run shot by Gabe Gross. Lewis’ afternoon ended after he led off the top of the fourth with two consecutive walks and then gave up an RBI single to Carlos Pena. The Rays would score two more runs off Rich Rundles (in his only MLB appearance of 2009) bringing the score to 10-0 Rays.

The Indians began to chip away in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run home run by Ryan Garko. David Price was on a strict pitch count, and was pulled in favor of Lance Cormier partway through the bottom of the fourth. Reddit user /u/OhioIT who was at this game shared his recollection with me, “If it wasn’t for an Indians home run in the 4th inning to give me a little hope, I might have left the stadium after the 7th inning like many people did that day. In the 8th we finally started hitting and added a couple more runs to the board.”

The Tribe scored two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, and entered the bottom of the ninth down 10-4. Grady Sizemore led off the inning with a walk. Victor Martinez popped out, and Jhonny Perralta got a base hit. Left-hander Randy Choate was summoned from the Rays bullpen to face Shin-Soo Choo.

Choo hit a double play ball to short that should have ended the game. However, rookie shortstop Reid Brignac throw the ball wide of second base. Sizemore scored, and everyone was safe on the basepaths. Again, /u/OhioIT, “It was at this point I felt the momentum shift, and somehow the Indians had the upper hand, even being down by 5 runs!”

Grant Balfour was brought in to replace Choate. Mark DeRosa lined out to third and the Indians were down to their last out.

Ryan Garko stepped in and launched his second home run of the evening into the left field bleachers.

Asdrubral Cabrera came on to pinch hit for Matt LaPorta and drew a walk on four straight pitches.

With no further insurance, and perhaps some doubt creeping in, Rays manager Joe Maddon brought in closer Jason Isringhausen. In almost a mirror image on the beginning of the game, Isringhausen walked the first three batters he faced, forcing in Cabrera and cutting the Rays lead to one.

The eleventh batter of the inning was Victor Martinez, who was 0-5 so far on the day. On a 2-2 count, Martinez sent a ground ball back up the middle, for the Indian’s second walk-off win of the season. The Indians scored their seven runs in the ninth on only three hits, but Victor certainly made his only hit of the day count. The Rays would go on to lose 18-straight games at Progressive Field, a streak that extended until Price finally defeated the Indians on July 24, 2010

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.