CLEVELAND, Ohio — There were shades of 10-cent beer night at Progressive Field on Thursday as the Cleveland Indians swept the Chicago White Sox with a 5-4 comeback victory.
No, the cardboard fans in the stands did not riot like attendees at old Municipal Stadium did back on June 4, 1974. There were no streakers, beer showers or police escorts necessary. The connection between Thursday’s game and the Indians’ infamous forfeit to the Texas Rangers back in the days of disco occurred in the seventh inning when Cleveland got three straight pinch-hits to help beat Chicago.
Josh Naylor, Tyler Naquin and Mike Freeman did the honors against Chicago righty Jimmy Cordero. Naylor was eventually erased on a fielder’s choice grounder by Delino DeShields, but Naquin and Freeman both scored on a two-run single by Cesar Hernandez. José Ramírez would later deliver the knockout blow with a two-run double to complete the Cleveland rally.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Indians sent three consecutive pinch hitters to the plate and all three hit safely was in the ninth inning of that ill-fated night in 1974. Just before umpiring crew chief Nestor Chylak called the game due to beer-fueled unruly fan behavior, the Indians got pinch-hits from Ed Crosby, Rusty Torres and Alan Ashby.
This time, it was the White Sox who needed a cold one.
Acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said that entering the seventh, Indians coaches had a plan and all of the pieces seemed to fall into place.
“We were very fortunate that all three of those guys got hits,” Alomar said. “It set up the big inning. The guys kept fighting, hitting balls the other way. It was a fun inning to watch.”
Starting pitcher Zach Plesac said he’d never seen anything like it in a game before.
“The way we did it to win the game was crazy, man,” Plesac said. “It’s just a really, really good feeling floating around this clubhouse right now.”
Plesac said comeback wins like Thursday’s go a long way toward building a club’s confidence, particularly on the heels of a long losing streak like the one the Indians snapped last week in Detroit.
“It just shows us that we’re never out of a game,” Plesac said. “We’ve just done such a good job after we went through that stretch of losing to really get back on the right track and really tighten up where we needed to. Now, everything is playing how we’re supposed to be playing. Keep the foot on the gas, for sure.”
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