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This week in 1995: The Indians clinch the division

The Tribe was rolling along with a record just a shade under 0.700. This week they wrap up the Labor Day weekend in Detroit and then play a pair in Milwaukee. Then they come home for a makeup game with Seattle and a three game set with Baltimore. Plus, a review of the hitting against the AL Central.

Both Belle and Lofton loved playing the AL Central in 1995
Both Belle and Lofton loved playing the AL Central in 1995
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

This week the Tribe plays four teams in seven days, the Tigers and Brewers on the road, and the Mariners and Orioles at home.  Also, we review how the Tribe fared against the AL Central hitting wise.

September 4, 1995

September 4: Indians 2, Tigers 3

The Labor Day finale in Detroit proved to be a very quick affair. The Indians scored a pair off Clint Sodowsky (who was making his MLB debut) on a walk to Omar Vizquel, a double by Carlos Baerga, an error by left fielder Phil Nevin and a ground out by Albert Belle. But that was about all the offense would generate all day as they had just 3 hits and 5 walks against Sodowsky and four relievers. Mark Clark had a very good start, pitching a complete game with 4 hits and 2 walks. Unluckily, all four hits came in the fourth when the Tigers plated three. Two scored on a Tony Clark triple and game winner on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Higginson.

September 5-6, 1995

September 5: Indians 7, Brewers 3

September 6: Indians 12, Brewers 2

The opener of this series stayed scoreless until the fourth. Belle reached on an error and scored when Eddie Murray doubled. Manny Ramirez's single made it 2-0. Dennis Martinez gave it right back when David Hulse homered. Murray struck again in the fifth with a two run single and then again in the seventh. Jim Thome's grounder made it 5-2 and Tony Pena drove in another in the eighth.

The Brewers got the lead off Ken Hill in the first on an RBI triple by John Jaha. But it was short lived as the offense jumped all over Brian Givens in the second. The big blow was a three run homer by Belle that made it 7-0. Manny added a solo shot in the fifth and the rest of the RBI were from Herb Perry, Tony Pena and Alvaro Espinosa. Hill pitched six strong innings as Eric Plunk and Jim Poole closed out the blowout.

September 7, 1995

September 7: Mariners 1, Indians 4

The makeup game got off to a good start as Thome doubled in a pair with the bases loaded in the first off Chris Bosio. Jay Buhner connected on a solo shot off Charles Nagy in the fourth to cut the lead in half. Carlos Baerga hit a two run shot in the fifth to give Nagy all the wiggle room he would need. Nagy only gave up five hits in seven innings as Julian Tavarez cleaned up Alan Embree's mess in the eighth and Joe mesa had a perfect ninth.

September 8-10, 1995

September 8: Orioles 2, Indians 3

September 9: Orioles 1, Indians 2

September 10: Orioles 3, Indians 5

The opener of this one promised to be a good one as Orel Hershiser faced Kevin Brown. All of the Tribe's runs scored in the third, Vizquel's fly ball scored Sandy Alomar and Murray's hot week continued with a two RBI single. The Orioles scored one in the fourth after a pair of singles and a double play grounder. Doubles by Harold Baines and Jeff Huson in the seventh chased Hershiser, but Paul Assenmacher stranded Huson to maintain the one run lead. Assenamcher only allowed a single in the eighth and Mesa only walked one in the ninth to secure his 40th save on the season. And after 41 excruciating years, the Cleveland Indians were going to the postseason.

Brady Anderson led off Saturday's game with a double and eventually scored on a flyball by Bobby Bonilla. The Indians scored a pair in the second when Thome tripled in Dave Winfield and then scored on an Espinoza liner to left. After that, Chad Ogea and Rick Krivda silenced both offenses (only seven hits for both teams combined). Krivda pitched a complete game while Embree and Mesa pitched perfect frames to close out the game.

A bit of small ball got the home guys a quick run in the first. Lofton singled and stole second. Vizquel walked and both moved up on a balk. Lofton scored when Baerga grounded out. The Orioles scored three off Clark in the second, with Bret Barberie singling in two. Murray got one back in the third, but Scott Erickson was very tough. He left in the eighth after a leadoff double by Belle. Jesse Orosco walked Murray and struck out Thome. Armando Benitez came in for the extended save, but Alomar drilled one to deep left to take a 5-3 lead. Mesa pitched another perfect frame for his third straight save and the team's sixth straight win.

Batting: AL Central Splits Review

PA

R

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Albert Belle

225

53

22

55

393

460

852

1312

Alvaro Espinosa

50

5

1

5

250

265

313

578

Carlos Baerga

223

38

7

35

333

381

502

884

Dave Winfield

38

4

1

3

182

289

303

593

Eddie Murray

209

33

12

44

340

378

588

966

Herb Perry

51

7

0

3

227

314

295

609

Jim Thome

200

29

9

28

335

460

590

1050

Kenny Lofton

208

36

4

23

314

371

468

839

Manny Ramirez

205

29

7

35

331

426

523

950

Omar Vizquel

226

32

2

17

266

338

342

680

Paul Sorrento

138

18

8

27

234

304

476

780

Ruben Amaro

12

1

0

2

417

417

500

917

Sandy Alomar

59

9

2

6

309

345

418

763

Tony Pena

110

11

3

15

314

339

467

806

Wayne Kirby

66

12

1

9

233

288

333

621

Billy Ripken

11

3

2

2

364

364

909

1273

Brian Giles

5

5

1

3

800

800

1400

2200

Jeromy Burnitz

6

3

0

0

500

500

500

1000

Jesse Levis

12

0

0

1

455

455

636

1091

Eddie Tucker

14

1

0

0

000

214

000

214

David Bell

1

0

0

0

000

000

000

000

Total

2069

329

82

313

313

379

514

893

Albert Belle was in no certain terms any amazing adjective you can come up with. What he did in just 50 games against his division rivals is almost a good year for most players in any season. He averaged over a run AND RBI per game played and was just shy of one homer every other game. Had he won the MVP (as he should have!), he could have thanked the pitchers in his division for the award.

Summary

This was the Tribe's second straight 6-1 week pushing them up over 0.700, with Eddie Murray being the main cog offensively. But it was truly the staff that shined this week. In seven games they allowed just 15 runs, 39 hits and 22 walks in 62 innings for a smoking 2.03 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. After eliminating the Twins and White Sox the two weeks prior, they also eliminated both the Brewers and Royals to clinch their first playoff berth since 1954.  Next week, the Indians coast to the finish with the Yankees visiting for three and the Red Sox for four.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

88

37

704

-

723

520

646

Kansas City Royals

62

62

500

25.5

540

576

471

Milwaukee Brewers

60

65

480

28.0

667

646

515

Chicago White Sox

58

66

468

29.5

680

685

497

Minnesota Twins

47

76

382

40.0

591

753

391