Feller Outdueled By Homer in Ninth; Browns 3, Indians 2
Mike B. | On 15, Dec 2013
July 11, 1948
In a pitcher’s duel that saw one hurler get stronger as the game continued and another weaken, it was Bob Feller who came up on the disappointing end of a 3-2 game. Feller gave up a leadoff home run in the ninth inning to Les Moss that gave St. Louis the victory of a tightly contested game.
“That home run pitch to Moss in the ninth there was just no excuse for that one at all,” Feller said. “It was a fastball that got away from me. It certainly is disgusting to lose one like that.”
Cleveland used the long ball, just like St. Louis, to score their runs. It looked early like the Indians were on their way to a win in the first half of today’s twin bill. Dale Mitchell started the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run far over the right field fence to give the Tribe the lead to start the game. Two hitters later Hank Edwards hit a solo home run of his own and Cleveland had a 2-0 lead after just an inning. For both Mitchell and Edwards, it was their second home runs of the season.
It appeared St. Louis starter Cliff Fannin was short for the contest after the Indians early lead. The Tribe had scoring chances in the next three innings, but were unable to cash in. Wally Judnich doubled to right field with one out in the second inning. Jim Hegan walked to put two on and one out, but Feller lined to third baseman Bob Dillinger, who threw to Jerry Priddy at second for a double play to end the inning.
Johnny Berardino singled to left field with one out in the third inning, but Edwards and Lou Boudreau each grounded into force outs at second base to end the rally. Fannin benefitted from another double play in the fourth inning. Joe Gordon singled to left field to start the frame, but Keltner flew out to right field before Judnich grounded to Priddy at second base, who started a twin-killing, ending another threat.
Feller, staked with a 2-0 lead, did not allow a hit for five innings, just walking two Brownies. In the top of the sixth, the first leak in the dam emerged when Chuck Stevens doubled off the center field wall. Feller survived the first rally, striking out Priddy and getting Whitey Platt to ground out, keeping the lead in tact.
But, having just allowed one hit, Feller fell victim to the home run ball in the seventh inning. After allowing an infield single to Al Zarilla to start the inning, Dick Kokos slammed a belt-high fastball into the right field seats, tying the game at two apiece.
“I had two balls on Kokos and then tried to throw a fast one in there,” Feller said. “I got it too close and high and he pulled it into the stands.”
It was Kokos’ first home run of his career. The 20-year old outfielder was dealt by the Indians to St. Louis last winter for Wally Judnich and Bob Muncrief.
Meanwhile, Fannin continued to get stronger as the game progressed. He did not allow a base hit after the fourth inning, use a strong curve to keep Indian hitters off balance.
The game got away from the Tribe and Feller on the first pitch of the top of the ninth when Moss sent the offering into the second row of seats in left field, breaking the deadlocked game and giving the Browns a 3-2 lead. It was Moss’ eighth home run of the season, but the 15th given up by Rapid Robert. Feller blames his control as the reason why players are taking him deep.
“It was that control of mine again,” Feller said. “I’ve been having trouble with all season. It seems I just can’t put that ball where I want it in a tight spot. I get behind the hitters too much and then have to come in with a good one, but I make it too good and look what happens.”
Feller (9-10) suffered a tough-luck loss. Despite two home runs, he only allowed five hits and three runs, while walking five. His eight strikeouts gives him a 10 whiff lead on teammate Bob Lemon.
Fannin (4-8) finished the game, striking out pinch-hitter Larry Doby, and completing what he started. He too, only allowed five hits and two home runs, but his two were solo shots and that was the difference in the game.
Cleveland will try to take the second game of today’s doubleheader in just moments when Bob Lemon (12-7, 2.53) takes to the mound on one day rest, looking for his 13th win of the season in the last game before the All-Star break. Ray Shore (1-0, 5.10) will take the ball for the final game before the Browns’ reach intermission.