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 31, 1995.
As rock legends stream into Cleveland for the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tomorrow night, Indians slugger Albert Belle showed the city of Cleveland that he is still the biggest rock star in town for the second night in a row.
Just as he did ‘Yesterday’, the Indians ‘Super Freak’ of a cleanup hitter hit an extra innings, walk-off homerun to lead the Indians to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday. The Tribe concluded the series with a four game sweep of the ‘Free Fallin’ Blue Jays and remain the ‘Leader of the Pack’ by a huge margin in the AL Central.
The Indians victory came courtesy of another come-from-behind effort, but the Tribe actually had taken an early lead thanks in large part to a ‘Wild Thing’ impersonation from Jays’ starter Edwin Hurtado. Hurtado recorded four wild pitches in the game, but otherwise pitched worthy of ‘Respect’. In the first inning, a bunt single from Kenny Lofton was followed by another single from Omar Vizquel to put the Tribe in business early. The first pitch to skip by the catcher followed and the two speedsters who were ‘Born to Run’ advanced to second and third on the play. A groundout from Jim Thome scored Lofton and then a sacrifice fly from Belle plated Vizquel to put the Tribe ahead 2-0.
The Blue Jays took a couple of innings to answer, but did take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth. It was an inning that featured four hits for Toronto, a wild pitch and saw Tribe starter Ken Hill ‘Surrender’ three runs.
The Tribe tied the game at 3-3 on an RBI single from Eddie Murray in the sixth, but Toronto took the lead back with a run in the seventh. Perhaps somewhat ‘Running on Empty’, Hill was still able to muddle through the ninth inning as the Tribe searched, in a season of ‘Heroes’, for another.
The ‘Good Times’ of the bottom of the ninth started with a single from Manny Ramirez and then a double from Sandy Alomar that pushed pinch runner Wayne Kirby to third. With everything starting to ‘Come Together’, the Jays turned to their closer, Tony Castillo, as pinch hitter Carlos Baerga came to the plate with one out.
Although the crowd may have been expecting a walk off hit from Baerga—as they have seen all season from their ‘Boys of Summer’—what they got was a sacrifice fly that tied the ballgame and sent it into extra innings. ‘One Way or Another’, the Indians always seem to come through in the late innings. With the score tied at 4-4, Jose Mesa then worked a perfect inning of relief in the 10th to set the stage for some more Jacobs Field ‘Magic’.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Thome got the ball rolling with a walk as Belle strode to the plate. Possibly ‘All Shook Up’ or maybe even a little ‘Crazy’, reliever Jimmy Rogers threw Belle a fastball right down the middle of the plate. In the fashion of what has just been ‘A Day in the Life’ of the ’95 Indians, the Tribe’s ‘Personal Jesus’ got the state of ‘Ohio’ rocking again as he ‘Beat It’ into the left field bleachers for the second night in a row. The ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’ continued for the Indians as they proved once again that ‘Cleveland Rocks’ in 1995.
The Tribe pushed their league-best record ‘Higher and Higher’ to an 80-35 mark and have won eight straight ballgames. They walked off on a homerun for the ninth time this year and have a record of 11-0 in extra innings. Belle has now blasted three walk-off homeruns and has a team best 33 homeruns and 94 RBI. In one of the best months in franchise history, Belle batted a ‘Jim Dandy’ .381 with 14 homeruns, 13 doubles, 30 RBI and 28 runs scored during his ‘Amazing’ August.
The Indians will ‘Hit the Road’ on Friday for a four game, wrap-around series in Detroit that will kick-start a six game road trip. Charles Nagy (11-5, 4.74) will try to show off his ‘Hot Stuff’ in the first game and will oppose Tigers’ starter Jose Lima (1-6, 8.02). The contest at Tiger Stadium is scheduled for 8:05 and can be seen nationally on ESPN or you can ‘Turn Up the Radio’ locally on WKNR-AM/1220 on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.