August 8, 1961 – Four-Run Comeback Ends with a Walkoff Passed Ball
The 1961 Indians were a largely forgettable team, although they were playing above-.500 baseball at this point in the season. The lowly Washington Senators were in town. Just over 5,000 fans came to the lakefront to see Bennie Daniels take on Barry Latman.
Washington scored first in the top of the fourth when Latman walked left fielder Gene Woodling. Two batters later, Bob Johnson put the Sens on the board with a two-run home run to dead center.
An inning later, right-fielder Chuck Hinton tacked on another run with a solo homer to center.
In the top of the eighth, Washington touched up Indians reliever Bobby Locke for two runs on three hits and an error.
Bennie Daniels had given up only two hits through four, but issued two walks to lead off the bottom of the fifth. With Willie Kirkland and Bubba Phillips on base, Tribe catcher John Romano blooped a single into left field to score Kirkland and make it a 3-1 game.
Facing a 5-1 deficit, Woodie Held led off the bottom of the eighth with a strikeout. Chuck Essegian pinch hit for the pitcher Bobby Locke and rocked a home run to deep left field off Daniels. Johnny Temple recorded a quick flyball out, and then two consecutive singles by Don DIllard and Tito Francona chased Daniels from the game.
Senators reliever Mike Garcia came on to pitch with runners on first and second. He gave up consecutive two-out singles to Kirkland, Phillips, and Romano which tied the game. He was pulled in favor of Dave Sisler who recorded the final out of the eighth.
The teams played through a scoreless ninth. In the top of the tenth, the Senators threatened. They had runners on first and third with one out, but Marty Keough popped a fly to second base. Johnny Temple made the catch for the first out, and threw home to get Hinton who was running on contact. The inning-ending double play was yet another break for the Tribe in a game where luck was on their side.
In the bottom of the tenth, Sisler and backup catcher Gene Green could not get on the same page. Don Dillard led off with a double to center. Tito Francona walked and then both advanced on a passed ball with Willie Kirkland at the plate. Kirkland eventually drew a walk. With the bases loaded and Bubba Phillips at the plate another ball skipped away from Green. Dillard hustled home to snatch a victory on the second passed ball of the inning.