1995 Game Recap: Twin Killing! Five DP’s pace Tribe as Nagy gets Opener Win on B-Day—Indians 5, Twins 1

Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back May 5, 1995.

It seems like it has been forever, but baseball is finally back at Jacobs Field.

After waiting through an eight month player’s strike, a delayed spring training and then a 4-3 road trip to Arlington and Detroit, the Indians were welcomed back to Cleveland with a warm reception by 41,434 excited fans on Friday evening. The Tribe did not disappoint, as they defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 5-1.

The Indians were led by starting pitcher Charles Nagy (1-0, 3.27), who followed up an uneven outing on Sunday by pitching a masterpiece against the Twins. Nagy, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, allowed just a fourth inning run in seven innings of work on his way to his first victory of the season. A scoreless inning by rookie reliever Julian Tavarez was followed by former-starter-turned-closer Jose Mesa’s first save of the year—just the third of his career.

The Cleveland offense, who failed to homer for just the second time this season, was led by a pair of RBI doubles from Albert Belle and the scorching bats of Eddie Murray and Manny Ramirez. Murray chipped in a fourth inning RBI single that gave the Indians the lead for good, while Ramirez contributed a single, double and walk that raised his batting average through the first week of the season to a ridiculous .452.

The Twins were the first team to jump on the board when Nagy allowed a walk to All-Star Kirby Puckett and then a double to the red-hot Matt Merullo. As he was all evening, Nagy was aided that inning by the double play ball, although the fourth inning escape job was not a traditional one.

With runners on first and third with one out, Scott Stahoviak tapped a bouncer to Nagy’s right, who fielded it and fired to catcher Tony Pena at the plate. Pena was able to chase the slow-footed Merullo down in a run-down, then fired to second to catch a napping Marty Cordova for the inning ending double play. It was the second of four double plays that Nagy induced after rolling 19 (fourth most in the AL) for the 1994 season. Mesa added the Tribe’s fifth DP grounder in the ninth to end the ballgame.

The Indians did all of their damage offensively in the middle innings, as they were able to better the Twins run with two of their own in the bottom of the fourth and then put the game away in the fifth and sixth innings. Belle’s first RBI double plated shortstop Omar Vizquel in the fourth and was immediately followed up by an RBI single from Murray. Back-to-back doubles by Ramirez and Paul Sorrento gave the Tribe a 3-1 lead in the fifth and then Belle’s other RBI double was followed by Murray’s second RBI single in the sixth. That gave the Nagy and the bullpen all of the support that they needed, as the Tribe moved to 5-3 on the young season.

Twins starter Scott Erickson (0-3) was hit with the loss despite pitching well for the first portion of the game. Erickson is a former All-Star and 20 game winner, but has struggled in the early portion this season as his ERA has ballooned to 6.61 through his first three appearances. Vince Horsman worked 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Erickson.

The Tribe will host the Twins again on Saturday at Jacobs Field as they look for an opportunity to move into first place in the Central Division. Free agent southpaw Bud Black (4-2, 4.47*) will make his season debut for the Indians and his first start for the Tribe since being traded to Toronto in September of 1990. He will be opposed by Twins rookie Brad Radke (0-0, 9.00), who struggled through three innings of his Major League debut on Saturday in the Twins slugfest-loss to the Orioles in Minneapolis. The 1:05 contest can be seen on WUAB 43 or can be heard on WKNR on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.

*1994 statistics

Photo: Mike Levy/The Plain Dealer

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