Game 160

September 29, 2017Ramirez Knocks 90th Extra-Base Hit

Chicago was in town to start off the final series of the regular season. While the Tribe had long clinched the Central Division crown, they were locked in a fight with the Astros for home-field advantage and looking for their 101st win of the season. 

Trevor Bauer took the hill for the Tribe with 189 strikeouts on the year. He would have to have a career night to join Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco with over 200 Ks for the season. Mike Pelfrey was slated to pitch for the White Sox. 

Bauer got right to work, striking out Yolmer Sanchez to lead off the game and Jose Abreu to end the top of the first. The Tribe loaded the bases against Pelfrey before Carlos Santana’s line out to deep left ended the threat. 

Bauer pitched another 1-2-3 inning in the second, but all of the outs came on batted balls. 

Jason Kipnis was aboard with a walk to lead off the bottom of the second. After a Yandy Diaz strikeout, Kipnis stole second with catcher Roberto Perez at the plate. Perez eventually drew a walk, and then Francisco Lindor lined out to left for the second out. 

Austin Jackson poked a two-out RBI single over the second base bag and into center field. Jose Ramirez drove a double down the left field line that scored Perez and Jackson. Edwin Encarnacion reached on an error and Jose was able to come around and score during the confusion. Jay Bruce blasted a homer into deep left-center to cap off the 6-run inning. 

Bauer collected two more strikeouts in the top of the third, while the Indians scored four more in the bottom of the frame, including a bases-clearing double by Encarnacion.

Yolmer Sanchez was the first White Sox to reach base, and he did so in a big way. He lead off the top of the fourth with a home for the Sox only run of the day. He notched three more strikeouts before being relieved by Joe Smith in the top of the seventh. 

With a nine-run lead the Tribe relievers cruised to a Friday-night victory and held on to home field advantage. 

The Indians narrowly missed being the fourth team in MLB history to have three starters with 200 strikeouts for the season. Kluber (265) and Carrasco (226) far surpassed the mark, with Bauer falling just short at 196. 

Jose Ramirez’ two doubles (55 on the year) gave him 90 Extra-base. That put him 4th in Indians history for Extra-Base Hits He trailed only Albert Belle (103 in 1995), Hal Trosky (96 in 1936) and George Burns (94 in 1926).

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Game 93

July 21, 1968 – Mike Paxton Strikes out Four in the Fifth Inning

A matchup between the last-place Mariners and second-to-last place Indians in mid-summer 1978 would be entirely forgettable if not for an event that happened only for the 16th time in MLB history. Mike Paxton had gone 10-5 in his first major league season the year before with Boston and was a competent member of the Indians rotation in 1978. 

In the bottom of the second the Tribe got the offense going. Andre Thornton and Bernie Carbo drew back to back walks. Then catcher Gary Alexander singled to load the bases. Jim Norris flied out and everyone had to stay put. Second baseman Duane Kuiper grounded to short, scoring Thornton, while Carbo was forced out at first. Then Tom Veryzer singled, driving in Carbo. Rick Manning followed with a two-run double to center giving the Indians four runs on three hits in the inning. 

Paxton struck out Dan Meyer to lead off the top of the fifth, but the third strike was mishandled by Greg Alexander and Meyer took first on the passed ball. Paxton then retired Bruce Bochte (not to be confused with Bruce Bochy, Giants manager), Tom Paciorek, and Bill Stein all on strikeouts. This was only the sixteenth time a pitcher had retired the side with four strikeouts. 

The Tribe would score another seven insurance runs and go on to an 11-0 rout of the lowly Mariners. Mike Paxton would have his best season with a 12-11 record, but the Indians finished 74-85 and in sixth place. 

Five Cleveland pitchers have had four-strikeout innings. Guy Morton in Game 51 of 1916 and Lee Stange in Game 136 of 1964 preceded him. Paul Shuey K-ed four in Game  33 of 1994 and Chuck Finley in Game 12 of 2000. Finley is the only MLB-er to have two four-strikeout innings. The other was with the Angels in 1999. 

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Game 82

July 3, 1968 – Luis Tiant 19Ks in 10-Inning Complete Game

The Indians were hosting the Twins for a four-game series leading up to the Fourth of July holiday. After splitting the first two games, Luis Tiant was on the mound against the Twins Jim Merritt. 

Tiant pitched brilliantly, but was challenged early. With Twins on first and second in the top of the second he struck out Minnesota shortstop Jackie Hernandez looking to end the inning. 

Although he scattered six hits, no Twins baserunner made it past first again until the top of the tenth. 

Although not generating as many strikeouts, Merritt had an outstanding night as well. He struck out seven Indians, gave up only four hits and a walk. The pitching duel lasted into extra innings. 

In the top of the tenth, Rich Reese doubled to left field. Frank Quilici followed with a well-executed bunt that advanced Reese to third. With runners at the corners and no outs, Tiant struck out John Roseboro, Rich Rollins, and Merritt in quick succession to end the threat. 

Joe Azcue

Indians left fielder Lou Johnson led off the bottom of the tenth with a single, and advanced to second on an error. With Johnson in scoring position as a result of the miscue by Jackie Hernandez, Tribe catcher Joe Azcue stepped to the plate. Azcue knocked a single into right field, easily scoring Johnson and sending the Indians into the holiday on a winning note. 

Tiant would finish 1968 with a league-leading 1.60 ERA, and a 21-9 record. Seven of his 21 wins were shutouts. 

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Game 43

May 23, 2012 – Vinnie Pestano Records a Strikeout in 23 Straight Appearances

2012 was a tumultuous year for the Indians. In mid-May, you could say that the fanbase was divided. The Tribe was in first place in the Central Division, but dead last in attendance. Fans had not bought in to the team after their hot start and slow decline throughout 2011.

The previous Saturday, closer Chris Perez was quoted in a post game interview saying, “Guys don’t want to come over here, and people wonder why. Why doesn’t Carlos Beltran want to come over here? Well, because of that [poor attendance] That’s part of it. It doesn’t go unnoticed — trust us. I’m not calling out the fans. It’s just how it is. … Nobody wants to play in front of 5,000 fans.”

In fact, 22,000 filed into the ballpark for this Wednesday evening matchup with the Tigers. Both Zach McAllister and the Tiger’s Doug Fister pitched shutout baseball through the fifth inning. In the top of the 6th, Tigers center fielder Quentin Berry led off with a double. Andy Dirks drove him in with a line drive double to right field. Dirks tagged up on a long fly out by Miguel Cabrera, and was driven in on a fielder’s choice by Prince Fielder.

Travis Hafner tied the game at 2-2 with a drive to deep right field scoring Jason Kipnis.

McAllister began to struggle again in the top of the 7th, giving up back to back singles to Ramon Santiago and Gerald Laird. Matchup pitching by bullpen arms  Nick Hagadone and Joe Smith got the Tribe out of the 7th unscathed.

Prince Fielder reached on a Jason Kipnis throwing error to lead off the top of the 8th. Vinny Pestano was brought in to replace Tony Sipp, who had faced only Fielder. Pestano was quickly becoming a reliable setup man, but got into a bit of trouble early in this outing when he gave up consecutive singles to load the bases.

With the bases full of Tigers, he got former Indian Jhonny Perralta to strike out swinging on three consecutive pitches. With this, Pestano made an obscure–but impressive–entry in the Indian’s franchise record book. He recorded a strikeout in twenty-three consecutive appearances.

Pestano got Ramon Santiago to ground out, and then struck out Alex Avila to end the inning. In the bottom of the 8th, the Indians manufactured two runs that would make the deadball era proud. Kipnis scored on a fielder’s choice when Travis Hafner hit once sharply to first and Prince Fielder botched the throw to the plate. Carlos Santana pushed Asdrubal Cabrera across the plate with a sacrifice fly, bringing the score to 4-2.

Chris Perez retired the Tigers in order to get his 15th save of the season.  He was cheered heartily by the 22,000 in the ballpark, but remained a controversial figure throughout his stay in Cleveland. He was released at the end of the 2013 season after throwing up on the mound and having weed delivered to his dog via USPS. But he amassed 124 saves with the Tribe, achieved two All-Star appearances for some mediocre teams in need of a Firestarter.

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Game 32

May 13, 2015 – Kluber Shaves Beard, Strikes Out 18 in Eight Innings

The start of the 2015 season had been rough on Corey Kluber. After winning the AL Cy Young award in 2014, he lost his first five decisions of the 2015 campaign. Of his eight starts so far in 2015, the Indians had lost seven. By mid-May many fans and commentators were worried about their presumed ace pitcher.

The Cardinals were in Cleveland for an interleague series and sent veteran pitcher John Lackey to the mound for this Wednesday evening contest against the normally hirsute Kluber. When he came to the mound clean-shaven, everyone assumed that in a fit of baseball superstition he was trying to change his luck.

Kluber got leadoff hitter Kolten Wong to strike out swinging on five pitches to start the game. Matt Carpenter flied out to center. Kluber hit left fielder Matt Holliday with the first pitch of his at bat. It was perhaps his only major lapse in control. Former Indian Jhonny Peralta stuck out swinging to end the inning.

Lackey got out to a rough start, walking Jason Kipnis on four pitches right out of the gate, followed by a six-pitch walk to Carlos Santana. After a Michael Brantley strikeout, right fielder Brandon Moss hit a liner down the right field line allowing Kipnis to score from second. David Murphy then knocked a ground ball single to right, bringing Santana home.

With a 2-0 lead established, the rest of the night was the Corey Kluber show. He racked up a franchise-record eighteen strikeouts in eight innings of work. He recorded at least one strikeout in each inning pitched, with 1-2-3 innings in the 3rd and 4th.

He took a no-hitter into the top of the 7th, when Jhonny Peralta poked a single into center field.

He threw 113 pitches in the game, 74 of them were strikes. With his pitch count climbing, the no-hitter broken up, and Cody Allen ready to slam the door, Kluber did not return to the mound for the top of the 9th. Cody Allen retired the side in order on 11 pitches and earned the save.

In Indians history, only Bob Feller had eighteen strikeouts in a nine-inning game (Game 152 of 1938, which was a 4-1 LOSS to the Tigers!). Luis Tiant holds the single-game strikeout record for the Tribe, but his 19 Ks came in a 10-inning victory over the Twins (Game 82 of 1968).

Kluber would go on to put together one of the most amazing months of pitching in Indians history, with 60 strikeouts in the month of May. Sam McDowell holds the record for most strikeouts in a calendar month with 76. However, McDowell pitched in a four-man rotation prior to the institution of the designated hitter. Normalized for innings pitched, Kluber recorded 12.56 Ks per 9 innings in May 2014. McDowell’s best month was 12.35 K/9 in September of 1966.

When asked in a post-game interview if he shaved his beard to change his luck, Corey stated, “I did it for Mother’s Day.”

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