In June 2015, the Cubs had yet to go on the great second-half run that ended in a 97-win season and the NLCS.
But in early June, they had gone on a bit of a run and began a two-game series against the Indians in Cleveland having won seven of their last 11 games. One of those losses had been a 6-0 shutout at the hands of the Tribe the previous night at Wrigley Field.
So perhaps the Cubs had a bit of revenge on their minds as they took the field in Cleveland on June 17.
The damage began early. Kyle Schwarber had made his major-league debut in that 6-0 loss as a defensive replacement at catcher in the ninth inning, so this game was his first major-league start, at DH. He came up for his first MLB at-bat in the second inning with one out and a runner on first and tripled. He would eventually have a four-hit night [VIDEO].
The Cubs scored six in that inning. Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo both homered. Then they tacked on four more in the next inning, the big blow a three-run homer by Chris Denorfia.
The 10-0 lead stood until the ninth inning. Of all people, Tsuyoshi Wada had thrown seven scoreless innings against a pretty good Cleveland team, allowing just four hits. As is the custom for most modern games, Indians manager Terry Francona had turned to a position player, Ryan Raburn, to throw the ninth. Raburn issued a walk and allowed a hit but also recorded two outs. Then Francona, inexplicably, turned to a second position player, David (“Not Daniel”) Murphy, to pitch.
None of what happened next was Murphy’s fault. David Ross hit a popup to short that the normally sure-handed Francisco Lindor dropped for an error. A run scored to make it 11-0. Russell singled in another, 12-0. Dexter Fowler walked to load the bases. Then Mike Baxter (remember him?) was hit by a pitch to make it 13-0.
That brought up Kris Bryant:
KB hit a Murphy “fastball” that went 78 miles per hour out of the yard. It was his first career grand slam. He now has four.
Because of Lindor’s error, all seven runs the Cubs scored in the ninth inning were unearned. The 17-0 win was the Cubs’ biggest shutout in 46 years. (That one will be covered later in this series.) If you are interested in watching this entire game, here it is: