July 15: Baltimore 9, Cleveland 4
Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson have not been hitting a lot at the bottom of Baltimore’s lineup this season, but they made a lot of noise in this one. Ripken was 3-for-4 with a double, and Robinson 2-for-4 with two triples.
Jim Thome became the third player to reach 20 homers.
R H BB BAL 004 003 002 - 9 11 4 CLE 000 201 100 - 4 9 5 HR: J. Thome (20) starters IP R ER HR BB SO H. Howell 7.0 4 4 1 2 1 A. Joss 5.2 7 5 0 2 0 BAL 51-37, CLE 42-46
July 16: Cleveland 10, Baltimore 8
It seemed a little strange for Bob Feller to be in Cleveland’s bullpen instead of the starting rotation for most of the year, but he was thriving in the ‘pen and made the All-Star team as a reliever. Cleveland elected to move him into the rotation after the break, and Feller traded places with Sam McDowell.
This was Feller’s second start since the break, and it went bad in a hurry. It was Feller’s questionable control that kept him out of the rotation to start with, and he had no idea where it was going in this game. He walked nine Orioles while recording just nine outs, and Baltimore built an 8-0 lead by the middle of the fourth.
McDowell relieved Feller, and was as good as Feller had been bad. McDowell threw six shutout innings that allowed his team to mount a huge comeback.
Thome led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo dong, the Naps batted around in part thanks to a Bobby Grich error, and Thome added a two-run single to his homer in the same inning. Cleveland had pulled within a run by the time Baltimore finally got out of the inning, and Cleveland tied it up in the fifth in part thanks to an Adam Jones error.
It was still tied in the bottom of the ninth with Hoyt Wilhelm on the mound, runner on first, and two outs when Thome mashed his 22nd tater in fashionable walk-off style. Thome tied Lou Gehrig for the league-lead in dingers, butting in on the monopoly Gehrig and Babe Ruth have had atop that list seemingly all season.
R H BB BAL 022 400 000 - 8 7 13 CLE 000 710 002 - 10 13 1 HR: J. Thome-2 (22) starters IP R ER HR BB SO U. Shocker 6.0 8 3 1 0 1 B. Feller 3.0 8 8 0 9 1 BAL 51-38, CLE 43-46
July 17: Cleveland 4, Baltimore 3
Thome wasn’t done bashing Cleveland pitching. He took the league homer lead in the bottom of the first to open a lead the Naps held the rest of the way. It got pretty shaky in the top of the ninth as Stan Coveleski tried to finish a complete game win but let Baltimore get within a run with runners on the corners and two outs. Doug Jones came in and whiffed Grich to seal the series win for Cleveland.
Thome was 8-for-12 in the series with a walk and four dong shots. No one else homered in the series. In just three games, Thome raised his wOBA from .383 to .400, seventh best in the league.
R H BB BAL 000 002 001 - 3 11 5 CLE 201 000 10x - 4 10 2 HR: J. Thome (23) starters IP R ER HR BB SO J. Niggeling 6.0 4 4 1 2 3 S. Coveleski 8.2 3 3 0 5 1 BAL 51-39, CLE 44-46