Today in Tribe History: August 20, 1980
Bob Toth | On 20, Aug 2019
The Indians nearly add another name to their record book as pitcher Dan Spillner comes within two outs of a no-hitter in a 3-0 win over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park.
Spillner would have been an unlikely contributor to that piece of history, based on his 10-9 record and 5.45 ERA coming into the day’s contest. The Indians got on the board in the second on an RBI-groundout from Tom Veryzer. Toby Harrah made it a 2-0 game in the third with an RBI-double to score Jorge Orta from second. It would be more than enough for the Tribe’s starter on this day.
The White Sox got their first base runner of the day in the fourth, when Lamar Johnson drew a two-out walk. He would be stranded there on Spillner’s seventh flyout in the first 12 outs of the game. He would get his first and second of eight strikeouts in the game to end the fifth and would get two more to start the sixth before another ball in the air was caught to end the frame.
In the eighth, the Indians tacked on a run on an Alan Bannister double that scored Harrah from first as the White Sox committed their second of three straight errors in the inning. With a 3-0 lead and having faced just one over the minimum, Chet Lemon drew a one-out walk off of Spillner, but would be forced out at second to end the inning with no damage done again.
In the ninth, Spillner struck out pinch-hitter Harold Baines to start the inning. With two outs standing between him and history, Leo Sutherland singled to left to break up the no-hitter. A groundout and a flyout would end it, with the Indians victorious, 3-0, to improve to 61-57 on the year.
It was the second career one-hitter for Spillner and arguably the greatest outing of his career. It was the seventh time that season that he pitched into the ninth and was his sixth complete game (all wins). He will finish the year 16-11 and the Indians will go 21-13 in games in which he appeared.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1908 – Future Indians catcher and manager and Hall of Famer Al Lopez is born in Tampa, Florida. The backstop spent the final year of his 19-year Major League playing career as a backup catcher in Cleveland and later served as the team’s manager from 1951-1956, winning an American League pennant while amassing the most regular season wins in franchise history in 1954.