October 15 in Cleveland Indians history: Tony Fernandez solo shot wins 1997 ALCS

Roberto Borea / Associated Press

This day includes a Jim Thome bomb to win Game 5 of the 1995 ALCS, a Tony Fernandez extra inning blast to win Game 6 of the 1997 ALCS, the end of the road for the 2001 squad, and a Jake Westbrook beauty in Game 3 of the 2007 ALCS.

October 15

W

L

Pct

All-Time

3

1

.750

Home

2

0

1.000

Road

1

1

.500

Extra Innings

1

0

1.000

Monday

1

1

.500

Wednesday

1

0

1.000

Sunday

1

0

1.000

Mariners ALCS-5 1995

1

0

1.000

Orioles ALCS-6 1997

1

0

1.000

Mariners ALDS-5 2001

0

1

.000

Red Sox ALCS-3 2007

1

0

1.000

1995 ALCS Game 5, Jacobs Field: Indians 3, Mariners 2

Usually in a seven game series, in game five a team will face either the game two starter on short rest or the game one starter on normal rest. For this matchup, Lou Pinella decided to start his fifth different starter, Chris Bosio. And instead of bringing back the normally scheduled Dennis Martinez, Mike Hargrove decided to hold off Martinez to face Randy Johnson in game six and brought back game two starter Orel Hershiser.

A two out walk by Ken Griffey Jr. in the first did not do any damage, so the Indians got their first crack at Bosio. Kenny Lofton lined out, but Omar Vizquel was safe on normally sure-handed Tino Martinez's error. Carlos Baerga singled to left and with Albert Belle striking out, Omar stole third. Eddie Murray singled to right, scoring Omar. A walk to Jim Thome loaded the bags for Manny Ramirez, but he hit into a force play, leaving three runners on base.

Alex Diaz hit a two out double off Hershiser and the Tribe went in order in the second. In the third, Hershiser struck out Dan Wilson but walked Joey Cora. With Edgar Martinez striking out Cora stole second. Griffey Jr. laced a ground rule double down the left field line, tying the game. Hershiser finished off the inning by striking out Buhner, his third in the inning. The Tribe went meekly in their third, 1-2-3.

Alex Diaz had a two out single in the top of the fourth. Eddie Murray had a leadoff single in the bottom, but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play. Cora got a one out single in the fifth and ended up scoring an unearned run when Belle misplayed Griffey Jr.'s flyball. A mini rally in the bottom of the fifth went for naught. Lofton singled and took second on a Vizquel walk. They successfully executed a double steal, but Baerga grounded back to the pitcher.

Pinella tried some small ball in the sixth: a leadoff single by Tino Martinez and a sacrifice by Doug Strange. But Hershiser retired Diaz and Sojo. In the bottom of the sixth after Belle lined out to third, Murray doubled to right. Thome crushed one down the right field line and the Indians now led 3-2. Jeff nelson came on and walked Sorrento with Sandy Alomar singling him to second, but both were stranded.

Now with a lead, Hargrove went to the bullpen and went defensive. Julian Tavarez came out for the seventh and Wayne Kirby replaced Belle in left, hitting fourth. Tavarez got Dan Wilson to hit a grounder, but Sorrento couldn't gather it in. Joey Cora did the same, and this time Sorrento goofed up the throw. After four pitched it should have been two out, but now it was first and second with nobody out. Edgar Martinez forced Cora at second, but now the tying run was at third. Paul Assenmacher came in and held them at bay, striking out both Griffey Jr. and Buhner.

Nelson struggled in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases on a Vizquel single, Baerga walk, Kirby sacrifice and intentional pass to Murray. Bill Risley relieved and stuck out Thome and induced Manny to fly to right. After the two errors in the seventh, Herb Perry replaced Sorrento in the eighth. Assenmacher retired Tino Martinez on a popup, with Eric Plunk called in to face Doug Strange. Pinella pinch hit with Vince Coleman who walked and stole second. Diaz also walked. But Sojo lined into an unassisted double play to short.

In the bottom of the eighth, Lofton lined a single to center and took second on Griffey's error. He stole third but was stranded. After the wild seventh and eighth innings, Jose Mesa pitched a perfect ninth, with Edgar Martinez battling him with a ten pitch at bat before ending the game on a liner to Lofton. The Tribe now had a 3-2 series lead with the knowledge that Randy Johnson was on tap for game six and that if they lost, they would have a chance in game seven, albeit on the road.

1997 ALCS Game 6, Oriole Park at Camden Yards: Indians 1, Orioles 0, 11 innings

With their backs to the wall, the Orioles started Mike Mussina, while the Tribe brought back Charles Nagy. The Indians had no solution to Mussina on this night. He pitched eight superb innings. David Justice led off the fourth with a two-bagger, the only hit Mussina gave up. He walked Justice in the seventh and Brian Giles in the eighth, both with two outs. He also struck out ten.

Nagy was also putting up zeroes, but not nearly as cleanly. In the first, he walked Brady Anderson, but he was doubled up. Geronimo Berroa doubled, Harold Baines drew the second walk, but Rafael Palmeiro struck out. In the second, Cal Ripken led off with a single, with a two out double by Mike Bordick moving him to third. They both were stranded. In the third, Robbie Alomar singled and moved around on a pair of ground outs, but was likewise stranded. He worked around a leadoff double by Ripken in the fourth and back to back singles by Berroa and Baines in the fifth. He had his lone perfect frame in the sixth.

In the seventh, Mike Bordick and Anderson both singled. Robbie tried to sacrifice them over, but bunted into a force play at third. And then Berroa hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Nagy struck out Baines to start the eioght, but he hit Palmeiro. Pinch runner Jeffrey Hammonds stole second and Cal Ripken walked. Paul Assenmacher got BJ Surhoff to force Ripken. Mike Jackson got Chris Hoiles to force Surhoff, and danger was averted.

Randy Myers pitched the ninth and tenth with two baserunners in the ninth. Jackson struck out the side in ninth, but did walk Robbie. Brian Anderson pitched tenth, with just a two out walk to Ripken. In the eleventh, Tony Fernandez hit a solo shot off Armando Benitez, scoring the first run of the game. Jose Mesa closed the door, with a two out single by Brady Anderson the only blemish. The Tribe was headed back to their second World Series appearance in three years.

2001 ALDS Game 5, Safeco Field: Mariners 3, Indians 1

Just as in game two, Chuck Finley took on Jamie Moyer. Moyer induced six straight ground balls to start the game. Omar Vizquel's ended up being a Mark McLemore error, but Robbie Alomar's doubled him up. Ichiro had an infield single to start the first and was bunted to second by Stan Javier. But Einar Diaz threw him out stealing third. In the second the Mariners loaded the bases without a hit. Edgar Martinez and John Olerud walked and Finley hit Mike Cameron. He almost got out of the jam. He struck out both Dan Wilson and David Bell. But McLemore hit the first pitch to left, scoring two.

Moyer showed he was human after all in third. Travis Fryman doubled to center and moved to third on Marty Cordova's fly. Diaz walked and Kenny Lofton singled. A bunt single by Omar loaded the bases. But another ground ball double play was hit by Robbie ended the inning with just one run tallied. The Mariners went in order in the third, as did the Tribe in the fourth, all via the whiff. Martinez walked to lead the fourth but never moved. And in the fifth and sixth, the Indians went 1-2-3 again.

Finley loaded the bases again in the fifth on singles by McLemore and Ichiro and a walk to Stan Javier after wild pitching them both over. David Riske retired both guys to stop them in their tracks. Ricardo Rincon got Riske out of his mini jam in the sixth. Another 1-2-3 inning by the Tribe in the seventh, this time with Jeff Nelson pitching. The Mariners got their final run on an Ichiro single and a sacrifice bunt by Javier. After Danys Baez relieved, he struck out Brett Boone, but Martinez plated Suzuki with a single.

Diaz finally broke the string of fifteen straight batters. But Arthur Rhodes got Kenny Lofton to end the eighth. And nobody reached base in the ninth against Kazuhiro Sasaki. With that loss the Tribe's season was over and the massive rebuild was just on the horizon.

2007 ALCS Game 3, Jacobs Field: Indians 4, Red Sox 2

After a pair of hitting displays in Boston, the Tribe came home with a much needed split. Jake Westbrook started for the Tribe with Daisuke Matsuzaka on the bump for the Red Sox. Westbrook walked Kevin Youkilis with one out, but David Ortiz grounded into the shift, getting a weird 4-5-3 double play. The Indians went in order against Matsuzaka. Manny Ramirez worked a seven pitch walk to start the second. Mike Lowell singled and when JD drew reached on a Ryan Garko, the bases were loaded with nobody out. Jason Varitek hit one to left, but it wasn't deep enough. Coco Crisp then ended the inning with a 6-3 double play.

A one out single by Garko led to a Kenny Lofton homer in the bottom of the second, giving the Tribe an early 2-0 lead. Westbrook set them down in order in the third. Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Travis Hafner walked with two out, but Victor Martinez struck out. David Ortiz led off the fourth with a double, but became the first out when Manny's single hit him. Mike Lowell and JD Drew both grounded out, stranding Manny at second. After a 1-2-3 Tribe fourth, Jake had a quick fifth, ten pitches and three ground balls.

The Indians doubled their score on Matsuzaka in the fifth. A one out single by Casey Blake and a wild pitch put him at second. After a Grady Sizemore walk, Asdrubal scored Blake with a base knock. Sizemore scored when Hafner forced Cabrera at second. After Martinez singled, Mike Timlin came in to strike out Garko. In the top of the sixth, the Red Sox threatened with a Youkilis single and Ortiz walk, but Manny hit into another double play.

In the seventh, a one out single by Drew led to a Varitek home run, slicing the lead in half, 4-2. A Julio Lugo single ended Westbrook's night with 6.2 impressive innings. Jensen Lewis struck out Pedroia after an eight pitch at bat. The only baserunner after Lugo, would be a one out walk by Victor in the eight as Betancourt locked down the eighth and Borowski did the same in the ninth. The Tribe now held a 2-1 series lead, with two more at the Jake.

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