In a 1-0, 10-inning win over Detroit, Francona used his reinforced relief corps in record fashion. Due to the loss of starter Carlos Carrasco to injury in the first inning, the Indians established a Major League record by using nine pitchers in a shutout, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous record of eight had been done five times.
Two pitches into the game, Carrasco was hit on the right hand by a line drive from Detroit's Ian Kinsler, and the pitcher sustained a non-displaced fracture. That set the stage for an historic night for the Tribe bullpen, which had eight pitchers follow Carrasco and combine for 10 shutout innings.
"That was a fun game to be a part of," Francona said. "There was so much good baseball going on, so much good pitching. Guys just continuing to put up zeros."
During the 2014 season, Francona set an American League record by making 573 pitching changes in a single season.
Saturday's events were forced by circumstance. After Carrasco made his exit, Jeff Manship (1 1/3 innings), Kyle Crockett (2/3), Cody Anderson (two), Zach McAllister (one), Perci Garner (one), Bryan Shaw (one), Cody Allen (one) and Andrew Miller (two) made appearances for the Tribe. Those eight arms held Detroit to a 3-for-31 showing with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
Francona did not use all 13 of his relievers, but the bullpen certainly answered the call.
"It's fortunate we have more than a seven-man 'pen," Miller said. "I know the talk right now is to limit that in September, but thank goodness we have it the way it is right now. But, just top to bottom, everybody that went out there absolutely nailed it. It was a lot of fun."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.