The last time the O's got a sweep in Cleveland, three pitchers became 20-game winners
The Orioles will be looking for a sweep of their four-game set with the Cleveland Indians Monday night. Should the O's win, it will be their first four-game sweep at Cleveland since 1971. (MASN's Steve Melewski Tweeted that tidbit Sunday evening, and I did some digging to learn more.)
The 1971 O's sweep in Cleveland started with a doubleheader on Sept. 24 and continued through Sept. 26. It was part of an 11-game win streak by the Birds to close out the '71 season that started with a win in Detroit Sept. 19 and included sweeps of the New York Yankees in the Bronx and the Boston Red Sox at Memorial Stadium.
Mike Cuellar earned the first win of the set in Cleveland, which was his 20th and final win of the regular season. That is significant, of course, because the '71 Orioles were the last team to have four 20-game winners in their rotation. Cuellar tossed a complete game, allowing eight hits and two earned runs, with six strikeouts against three walks. Davey Johnson, Frank Robinson and Boog Powell all homered as part of a 9-2 victory.
Pat Dobson kept things rolling in the nightcap, also earning his 20th win of the season behind nine shutout innings. Dobson allowed six hits, struck out six and walked one. Center fielder Merv Rettemund tallied four RBI for the Birds and Bobby Grich went 3-for-3 with three runs scored in a 7-0 victory.
The O's handed the Indians their 100th loss of the season in the third game of the series, a 6-4 game that was knotted at four from the bottom of the fifth inning through the top of the 11th inning. Right fielder Tom Shopay and Rettenmund provided RBI singles to break the tie and continue the win streak. The 11th inning featured former Orioles hitting coach and current interim bullpen coach Terry Crowley in a pinch-hit role. Crowley singled and was replaced on the base paths by current MASN broadcaster Jim Palmer.
The Orioles closed out the four-game sweep with Jim Palmer earning his 20th win of the season behind a complete-game, three-hit shutout effort. Palmer struck out nine and walked two. Palmer helped his own cause with an RBI double, and Rettenmund continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The 1971 Orioles finished first in the American League East with a 101-57 record and a comfortable 12-game cushion over the second-place Detroit Tigers. The O's won the ALCS with a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, who likewise won 101 games, before falling to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games in the 1971 World Series.
The 1971 Indians, meanwhile, finished with a major-league worst 60-102 record.
July 23, 2012