1995 Game Recap: Bizarre Game Ends with Belle Blast—Indians 4, Blue Jays 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 30, 1995.

A game that had a little bit of everything, of course, still wound up going the Indians way.

Albert Belle’s walk-off, solo homerun followed a game-tying sacrifice fly from Carlos Baerga in the bottom of the 14th inning as the Indians came back again to defeat the defending World Champion Blue Jays by a score of 4-3. It was the Indians eighth walk-off homerun of the season—the second against Toronto and the second for Belle—and pushed their record to a perfect 10-0 in extra innings.

It certainly wasn’t pretty up until the very end, as the Indians had their share of baserunning blunders, an error and left 13 runners on base by hitting just 1-9 (.111) with runners in scoring position (RISP). Thankfully for the Indians and the sold out Jacobs Field crowd, Toronto was just as bad on the bases, stranded 17 total runners and were just 2-21 (.095) with RISP.

It took the Blue Jays a season high 18 hits to score three runs off of six Tribe pitchers, starting with All-Star Dennis Martinez who was held winless for the seventh straight outing after an 8-0 start. Toronto had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the 14th inning, but the Indians mighty offense held the trump card once again in the bottom half.

After Mike Huff had given Toronto the late 3-2 advantage with a sac fly, Kenny Lofton led off the bottom half with a bloop double down the left field line against reliever Tony Castillo. A perfect Omar Vizquel sacrifice bunt moved Lofton to third and then Baerga tied the game with a fly ball to left. That set the stage for Belle, who blasted Castillo’s 2-1 pitch deep over the left-centerfield wall to end the ballgame. The pitch was a high and outside fastball that Belle somehow turned on and lifted out of the ballpark, despite the pitch being well out of the strike zone.

For the season, Belle now has a team-leading 32 homeruns and 91 RBI.

Toronto had an early 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the top of the third after Paul Molitor had singled with Devon White on first base. Lofton’s throw to third to try and catch White advancing was wild and sailed into the stands as Toronto’s speedy centerfielder was able to score the game’s first run on Kenny’s sixth error of the season. The Indians were able to answer in the bottom half with an RBI single by Vizquel.

The Tribe’s first lead then came courtesy of the bizarre, as Manny Ramirez started the rally with a two-out single. Herbert Perry followed with a poke down the right field line that was interfered with by a fan, but plate umpire Chuck Meriwether ruled that Perry would have legged out a triple—fan interference or not. The “ground-rule triple” gave the Indians a short lived 2-1 lead, but a Shawn Green solo homerun led off the top of the seventh to tie the game at 2-2.

In addition to the throwing error, the Indians overcame baserunning mistakes all evening. Both Perry and Lofton were caught making Little League mistakes in the third and fifth innings, as both players were thrown out at third base trying to advance on a groundball to the shortstop. To make matters worse in the fifth, Vizquel—who had hit the grounder that Lofton was sniped on—was immediately picked off of first base by Jays’ starter Pat Hentgen.

Despite the silly mistakes on the bases, the Indians were still able to overcome the odds as they have all season, thanks in large part to their amazing power and their outstanding bullpen. Eric Plunk, Alan Embree, Julian Tavare and Jose Mesa were able to combine for six scoreless innings after Martinez left the game in the seventh, with Tavarez working a shutout 10th, 11th and 12th. Lefty Paul Assenmacher allowed the only blip on the bullpen’s radar when he allowed Toronto to capture the 14th inning lead in his inning of work.

The Tribe has now won seven in a row and 11 of their last 12 as they have increased their cushion in the AL Central to 21.5 games over second place Kansas City.

The first place Indians (79-35) will look for the four-game sweep of the Blue Jays on Thursday, as Ken Hill (1-0, 4.86 with CLE) will take the mound against rookie Edwin Hurtado (5-2, 5.11). Thursday’s game is scheduled for 7:05 and can be seen on SportsChannel or heard on WKNR-AM/1220 on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.

Photo: Indians.com

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