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 June 19, 1995.
If the Cleveland Indians of 1995 are turning in a dream season, we should all hope that we never wake up.
The Tribe improved baseball’s best record to 35-13 by recording their third walk-off homerun of the month—this one a 10th inning, opposite field shot by Manny Ramirez off of Boston pitcher Ken Ryan that gave the Indians a 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Monday evening at Jacobs Field.
In addition to being the third walk-off homerun this season, the victory was the Indians 12th win in their last at-bat this season, eight of which have come at home. The Tribe also now have 20 comeback wins this season, four of which have come against the Red Sox. The win also pushed the Indians record in extra innings to a perfect 5-0.
Prior to Ramirez’s heroics, the two team’s best pitchers so far this season locked horns in a tight one for the first half of the game. Neither starter factored in the final decision, but both Dennis Martinez (6-0, 2.68) and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (4-1, 1.59) kept their teams in the ballgame. Reliever Eric Plunk (4-1, 2.36) took the victory out of the bullpen, while Ryan (0-3, 4.97) was hit with his third loss of the year.
The Red Sox were able to get to Martinez first, as Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the top of the third inning. A two-RBI double by Mike Macfarlane in the second was followed by a solo homerun from shortstop John Valentin in the third. From there, the Tribe was able to chip away at the lead and eventually tied the game in the fifth.
Albert Belle started the comeback when he followed back to back singles and a double steal by Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third. Jim Thome then led off the bottom of the fourth with his 15th homerun of the year—his sixth in his last 11 games. Then, with two outs Belle tied the game by walloping his 12th homerun into the bleachers in left. The homers by Thome and Belle were the first homeruns allowed by Wakefield this season and were the first that the knuckleballer had allowed since Todd Zeile homered against him on September 18, 1993 when Wakefield was with Pittsburgh.
A solid two innings+ of relief by Julian Tavarez and Paul Assenmacher followed Martinez’s exit from the ballgame and preceded a nice escape out of an inherited first-and-third jam by Plunk in the top of the 10th. Boston countered with Ryan in the extra frames, a pitcher who was burned for seven runs in 1.2 innings of work against the Indians last month at Fenway Park. The change of venue didn’t prove any better for Ryan, as Ramirez led off the inning by sending his 3-2 pitch over the right-centerfield wall.
“He has power to all fields,” Manager Mike Hargrove said of the second-year star, Ramirez, “tremendous bat speed and bat control.”
Ramirez’s walk-off was the first of his young career and the Indians eighth overall since Jacobs Field opened last season.
The Tribe will continue their three game series with the first place Red Sox (28-20) on Tuesday night at 7:05. Chad Ogea (2-0, 2.13) will make his third straight start against fellow rookie Vaughn Eshelman (3-0, 4.83). The rookie Ogea has been the winning pitcher during both his first two starts of the season while the left-handed Eshelman has not had factored in a decision since May 13. Tuesday night’s contest will be televised locally on SportsChannel and can also be heard on WKNR-AM/1220 of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Associated Press