1995 Game Recap: Murray’s Bat and Vizquel’s Glove Sink Milwaukee—Indians 4, Brewers 3

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 August 19, 1995.

You know it’s your summer when you don’t play particularly well and you win anyways. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Famer in your lineup either.

For the Major League-best 70th time this season, the Indians found a way to take home a victory—this time on a walk-off homerun by the veteran Eddie Murray—as they defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 on Saturday night at Jacobs Field.

The Indians’ sixth walk-off homerun of the year came off of longtime Brewers’ reliever Bill Wegman to lead off the bottom of the ninth. The score was tied 3-3, but the Indians hadn’t played up to the level of the Brewers for much of the night. The Brew Crew, however, were never quite able to take full advantage of the Indians sloppiness.

The Tribe started off hot with a three-run first inning off of Milwaukee starter Scott Karl, who was brilliant after his rocky beginning. The Tribe notched their first inning trifecta courtesy of an unearned run driven in on a single by Carlos Baerga and then a line drive double into the left field corner by Albert Belle that plated both Baerga and Omar Vizquel. Once Karl finally recorded an out, however, the Tribe’s offense went silent until the ninth inning. Down 3-0, Milwaukee’s offense then chipped away at the Indians lead.

Tribe starter Ken Hill, who made his fifth start since being acquired at the trade deadline, allowed a John Jaha solo homerun in the second inning and then an RBI single to Kevin Seitzer in the third. Hill settled down to throw up zeroes through the sixth, but found himself in hot water when he exited the ballgame in the seventh.

Hill had allowed the Brewers to load the bases with nobody out when Manager Mike Hargrove replaced him in the top of the seventh, but Milwaukee had not even hit the ball out of the infield. Slugger Greg Vaughn started the rally with an unconventional infield single and then catcher Joe Oliver followed with a sacrifice bunt that started the sloppy nightmare for the Indians. Hill fielded the bunt and fired to second base, but Vaughn slid in safely ahead of the ball. Immediately after, centerfielder David Hulse dropped a bunt down the first base line, but Herbert Perry’s throw to third could not be handled by Jim Thome at third as Vaughn was safe again. Hargrove turned to lefthander Alan Embree to put out the fire and the rookie got bailed out by his Gold Glove shortstop.

The Brewers’ Jose Valentin scorched a line drive up the middle that Vizquel snared with a dive. Vizquel alertly flipped the ball to Baerga at second base, who just beat Oliver to the bag to complete the double play. Julian Tavarez then relieved Embree and walked Jeff Cirillo, but the inning ended when Tavarez retired Seitzer to end the threat and keep the score 3-2.

Despite Cleveland’s escape in the seventh, the Tribe was unable to hold the lead in the top of the eighth as Paul Assenmacher surrendered a leadoff homerun to BJ Surhoff to tie the game. The homerun was the first that Assenmacher had allowed to a lefthanded batter all season. The blast tied the game at 3-3, but set the stage for Murray’s heroics in the ninth.

Murray has been hampered the past couple of months by a fractured rib, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to put up impressive, age-defying statistics. The homerun was the 39-year-old’s 15th of the season and the 19-year veteran with over 3,000 career hits is still batting over .300. The game winning blast was Murray’s 473rd homerun of his career, just two away from tying Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 16th place on the all-time list.

The victory was the Indians’ 20th in their final at bat for the season and increased Cleveland’s lead to 18 games in the AL Central.

The Tribe will conclude their series with Milwaukee on Sunday with hopes of another series win. Charles Nagy (10-5, 4.81) will oppose rookie knuckleballer Steve Sparks (7-6, 3.83) in the 3:05 contest at Jacobs Field. Tribe closer Jose Mesa sits tied for the Major League record for consecutive saves to start a season with 36 and will hope for the opportunity to break the record previously held by Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1992. The game can be seen on WUAB TV-43 or heard on WKNR/AM 1220.

Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press


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