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Rewatch Tribe's unreal '01 comeback vs. M's

@MandyBell02
April 17, 2020

CLEVELAND -- There’s nothing quite like rooting for an underdog, and when you find yourself in a double-digit deficit in the third inning, a victory is a longshot. But when that monumental underdog comes out on top, it makes for one of the most thrilling games to ever be played.

CLEVELAND -- There’s nothing quite like rooting for an underdog, and when you find yourself in a double-digit deficit in the third inning, a victory is a longshot. But when that monumental underdog comes out on top, it makes for one of the most thrilling games to ever be played.

The Indians completed an improbable comeback against the Mariners on Aug. 5, 2001, scoring 12 runs after the seventh inning, including five in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to tie the game.

The Tribe fell in a 12-0 hole by the third inning and attempted to chip away at Seattle’s lead, scoring two in the fourth, but the Mariners answered in the top of the fifth with two more runs. With the 12-run lead still fully intact entering the bottom of the seventh, Cleveland began its resurgence by pushing three runs across the plate before scoring four more in the eighth. And even though they had cut the deficit, the Indians seemed to have no chance of coming back in the bottom of the ninth, trailing by five runs.

Ed Taubensee led off the inning with a single to center. Jim Thome flied out to right and Russell Branyan struck out swinging. When looking at the Baseball-Reference box score, the site’s Win Probability Chart gave Seattle a 100 percent chance of winning at that moment. But then Marty Cordova turned the momentum in the Tribe’s favor.

A double by Cordova put runners on second and third, and the Mariners called on Jeff Nelson to relieve Norm Charlton. Wil Cordero drew a walk and Einar Díaz plated two on a single to left. Kenny Lofton loaded the bases with a base hit of his own before Omar Vizquel cleared them with a three-run triple to right to force extra innings.

Two frames later, the Indians’ mission was complete, winning the game on a Jolbert Cabrera broken-bat single to score Lofton in the bottom of the 11th. Lofton leaped into Taubensee’s arms at the plate and was flung over his shoulder in celebration, as Cabrera and Vizquel hugged at second base. The 12-run deficit is tied for the largest overcome MLB history.

The other two instances both occurred early in the previous century. On June 18, 1911, the Tigers clawed back from 13-1 down to defeat the White Sox, 16-15. And on June 15, 1925, the Indians led the Philadelphia A's, 14-2, 15-3 and 15-4, before a 13-run bottom of the eighth wiped that all away.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.