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This week in 1995: The Cleveland Indians clinch best record in the AL

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The Indians were just days away from clinching the best record in the league. This week they played the White Sox and Royals in the final road trip of the regular season.

Albert Belle had a great week in 1995, crushing seven homers.
Albert Belle had a great week in 1995, crushing seven homers.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

This week in 1995, the Indians played the White Sox and Royals in the final road trip of the regular season. Having already clinched the AL Central, they were closing in on clinching the best record in the American League.

September 18-20, 1995

September 18: Indians 11, White Sox 1

September 19: Indians 8, White Sox 2

September 20: Indians 3, White Sox 4

Albert Belle led off the second with a towering shot to deep left and the rout was on. Jim Thome tripled in Manny Ramirez and then scored on a Wilson Alvarez balk for a quick 3-0 lead. The White Sox got their lone run in the third when Ozzie Guillen led off with a double and scored on a groundout. In the fifth, Omar Vizquel doubled in a pair and then Belle blasted his second homer to make it 7-1. In the sixth, Thome tripled again (!) and scored when Tony Pena singled. Finally, Pena put one over the fence in the eight with two aboard to finish the demolition. In the meantime, Ken Hill cruised, allowing just six hits, one walk and striking out eight.

Tuesday would become Albert Belle day. The Tribe scored twice in the first on some singles, stolen bases and grounders, including an intentional pass to Belle. Belle lined out to end the third. He led off the sixth, eight, and ninth innings with solo blasts, increasing his total to 44 on the year. The Tribe also added three more in the eighth to make it a laugher for Charles Nagy.

The finale was the day of the bench mob. Only Lofton, Belle, Thome and Eddie Murray started the game. Joe Roa got the spot start for the Indians. Thome scored Lofton with a fly ball in the first and Jesse Levis doubled in Herb Perry in the second. Tim Raines and Guillen each had RBI in the first two frames to tie it up. Chris Snopek homered in the fourth and added another RBI in the fifth. Billy Ripken homered for the good guys in the sixth to make it 4-3, but that would be as close as they would get.

September 22-24, 1995

September 22: Indians 5, Royals 3

September 23: Indians 7, Royals 3

September 24: Indians 2, Royals 4

Ramirez got the scoring started early with a two run double in the first, but Bob Hamelin tripled in two off Orel Hershiser in the bottom half to tie it. The Royals took the lead in the fourth with a homer by Joe Vitiello, 3-2. Royals starter Dave Fleming cruised until the seventh when Lofton bunted his way on, Omar sacrificed him over and then he stole third. Former 1995 teammate Gregg Olson came in and Carlos Baerga hit a weak chopper that scored Lofton. Paul Sorrento and Belle each added sacrifice flies in the eighth and ninth to make it 5-3. Jose Mesa loaded the bases in the ninth but did emerge unscathed for his 45th save.

The next day, the Tribe started quick again as Belle hit another homer and the Tribe led 3-0. Back to back RBI doubles by Wayne Kirby and Baerga extended it to 5-1 in the third. Belle's solo shot in the fifth, his 46th on the season gave Dennis Martinez more than enough cushion. A couple of late scores by both teams made the final score 7-3.

For once, the Royals opened the scoring with a run in the second and two in the third off Mark Clark, with Keith Lockhart's two run shot the biggie. Another run in the fifth made it 5-0. The offense managed just three hits and four walks off Kevin Appier, with only two guys reaching second. It wasn't until the ninth when Brian Giles hit a two run shot off closer Jeff Montgomery, that anyone scored.

1995 Indians Scoring by Inning:

RS

RA

First Inning

110

79

Second Inning

95

83

Third Inning

126

76

Fourth Inning

89

86

Fifth Inning

87

56

Sixth Inning

95

64

Seventh Inning

76

63

Eighth Inning

88

57

Ninth Inning

56

40

Tenth Inning

9

0

Eleventh Inning

2

0

Twelfth Inning

4

2

Thirteenth Inning

0

0

Fourteenth Inning

2

1

Fifteenth Inning

0

0

Sixteenth Inning

0

0

Seventeenth Inning

1

0

Total

840

607

The Indians loved getting out to a quick start with almost a run per game in the first, but it was the third where they shined their brightest offensively. And the pitching was great enough that the Indians won every inning over the course of the season.

The Tribe had 48 comeback wins, the largest being an 8-run deficit they overcame. They had 23 blown leads, the largest being 5 runs. They had twelve walk-off wins and only two walk-off losses.

Summary

The Tribe was just playing out the string, waiting to see who their postseason opponent would be. Boston had the AL East clinched, but the West had the Mariners up by just two games over the Angels. The Wild Card was a two team race as well, with the Yankees just a 0.5 game up on the Angels, meaning their were three teams competing for the final two AL postseason spots with one week left in the regular season.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

95

43

688

-

786

573

641

Kansas City Royals

69

69

50

26.0

614

649

475

Chicago White Sox

64

73

467

30.5

729

737

495

Milwaukee Brewers

64

74

464

31.0

709

704

503

Minnesota Twins

53

84

387

41.5

663

851

388