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 September 18, 1995.
The best performances of the season out of Tony Pena and Ken Hill are going to go completely overlooked, but nobody on Albert Belle’s team is going to gripe about him stealing the spotlight.
Pena may have gone 4-4 with a three run homerun on Monday night while Hill worked his first complete game in over a year, but Belle stole all the headlines by slugging two more homeruns in the Indians 11-1 trouncing of the White Sox at Comisky Park.
Belle’s two blasts give him 41 for the season, a long way from the 14 that he had at the All-Star break just two months ago. Belle has 22 homers in 48 games since August 1 and has hit 27 of his 41 bombs since the Mid-Summer Classic. He had broken his career-best of 38 (1993) on Friday with two homeruns against Boston and then on Monday night, he became the first Indian since Rocky Colavito in 1959 to break the 40 homerun plateau. He is now just two blasts shy of setting the Indians franchise record of 43 that was set by Al Rosen in his 1953 MVP-season.
Belle’s first jack got the Indians scoring started, as he led off the second inning with what appeared to be a no-doubter deep into the left field bleachers. The strong breeze on the Windy City’s south side did everything it could to push it back, however, and Belle’s 40th homerun of the season just cleared the fence in left. The Tribe went on to score two more runs that inning, as Jim Thome hit his first of two triples on the evening to plate Manny Ramirez and then Jimmy scored himself on a balk from White Sox starter Wilson Alvarez.
The Pale Hose got their lone run in the bottom of the third, when Ozzie Guillen eventually came home on a groundout after leading off the inning with a double. The Tribe bats then erased all doubt in the fifth, with Belle supplying the exclamation point.
With one out, Pena grounded one of his season-high four hits through the left side for a single before a Kenny Lofton walk pushed him to second. A double from Omar Vizquel scored both runners and pushed the score to 5-1 and then a lineout from Carlos Baerga brought Belle to the plate with two down. Belle clobbered the 1-0 pitch from reliever Brian Keyser deep into the left field bleachers for a 7-1 Indians advantage. Pena and Hill took over the game from there.
Hill allowed just the single run on six hits over nine innings of work for his first complete game since July 7, 1994 against San Diego. Hill struck out eight and walked one. Pena, meanwhile, added the Indians eighth run with an RBI single off of Keyser in the sixth and then made the game a laugher with his three-run shot in the top of the eighth.
Belle finished the game 2-4 after being subbed out for September call-up Jeromy Burnitz in the seventh. Burnitz had one at bat, a ninth inning single, that Belle could have had to possibly add to his homerun total. The blowout also added opportunity for some of the other Tribe youngsters, as Brian Giles appeared in just his second Major League game as a pinch runner for Ramirez in the ninth, while Billy Ripken added an eighth inning single to his resume. Ripken has now hit safely in all three games that he has played for the Indians this year.
The Indians (92-41) will need to go at least 8-3 over their last 11 ballgames if they’d like to become the second team in franchise history (1954) to reach 100 wins. Their next shot will come on Tuesday night at Comisky Park, as they continue their three game series with the White Sox. Red-hot starter Charles Nagy (14-5, 4.34) will get the ball for the Indians and will face off against youngster Luis Andujar (2-0, 2.25). Andujar will be making just his third Major League start, while the veteran Nagy is coming off a brilliant three-hit shutout of the New York Yankees and has lost just one game in his last 15 starts. The game is scheduled to start at 8:07 EST and can be seen on SportsChannel or heard on WKNR/AM-1220 on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.