Pair of Long Balls Saves Paige, Tribe; Indians 8, Athletics 5
Bob Toth | On 19, Dec 2013
July 18, 1948
Two late home runs earned the Indians a doubleheader sweep on Thursday night as Cleveland defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 8-5.
The Athletics jumped on Cleveland starter Bob Lemon in the bottom of the third. Opposing starter Dick Fowler led off the inning with a single to left. A walk to Barney McCosky and a single by Ray Coleman loaded up the bases with one out before Ferris Fain grounded out to Joe Gordon at second, driving in Fowler. A walk to Hank Majeski reloaded the bases for Elmer Valo, who knocked in an unearned run on an error at second by Gordon, who did not cleanly field the play. McCosky scored on the play to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
The Indians cut the deficit in half in the next half inning. A pair of hits to right field, a leadoff single by Dale Mitchell and a double by Larry Doby, gave Cleveland a huge scoring opportunity. Edwards lined into a double play, as his hot shot to first doubled off Doby at second. Skipper Lou Boudreau saved the inning for the Tribe, as his two-out single to left scored Mitchell to make it a 2-1 ball game.
After Lemon retired the A’s in order in the fourth, the Indians strung together three straight two out hits in the fifth to take the lead. Jim Hegan started the rally with a game-tying home run off of Fowler to tie the game at two. Lemon singled back to the mound and scored on a double to left by Mitchell, giving the Indians their first lead of the night. On the play, Lemon was grazed in the head by the relay throw from Pete Suder.
Cleveland padded their new lead in the sixth. Edwards drew a walk and moved up as Boudreau singled to center. An error in center by Coleman allowed both runners to move into scoring position. Gordon pushed Edwards across the plate with a sacrifice fly to right to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
Lemon’s night ended prematurely in the bottom of the sixth. A single to start the inning by Majeski was hurt by a pair of quick outs by Valo and Herman Franks. After Suder walked, Fowler singled to right field. Majeski scored to make it a 4-3 score. Lemon then met with Boudreau, telling the Cleveland manager that his head was hurting. New reliever Satchel Paige, making his second professional appearance, entered the game with runners on the corners and ended the scoring threat with a flyout by Eddie Joost to right to end the inning.
Lemon left with a lead after five and two-thirds innings of troubled work. He was charged with a pair of earned runs and three on the night after allowing five walks and four hits. He did not strike out a batter. He had a hit in two plate appearances and scored a run. The Indians’ ace pitcher was X-rayed as a precaution, but the injury is not believed to be serious.
The Indians pushed their lead back to two runs in the seventh. Jim Hegan doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Paige. A sacrifice fly to center by Dale Mitchell scored Hegan to make it a 5-3 game.
Paige was not as lucky in the bottom of the inning. After retiring the first two batters in order, Fain doubled off of the wall in right. Majeski then cleared the fences, sending a two-run home run to the top of the left field grandstand, tying the game at five.
The home run came to the Indians’ rescue in the top of the eighth to win the day. Ken Keltner knocked one out of the park with one out in the eighth to give Cleveland a 6-5 lead.The blast to the upper portions of the left field stands was his 21st of the season.
In the ninth after a leadoff triple by Mitchell, Doby slugged a two-run shot to right to give the Indians an 8-5 advantage.
Paige retired six straight after the home run to Majeski before allowing a two-out single to Coleman in the ninth, but induced his third flyout of the inning to end the ball game.
Paige (1-0) earned his first win of the season and as an Indian. He became the first African-American to earn a win at the Major League level.
Fowler (8-2) went the distance for the A’s in the nightcap. He allowed eight earned runs on twelve hits, walked a pair, and struck out two. He was hurt by the three home runs he surrendered on the night.
Mitchell was a catalyst for the offense all evening for the Indians. He was 3-for-5 in the second game with a pair of RBI and a pair of runs scored. He finished a home run short of the cycle and increased his season batting average to .311. He has now hit in eleven straight games and 12 of 13 in the month of July.
A total of 37,684 fans filled Shibe Park for the day’s double dip.
The win increased the lead for the Indians in the American League to two and a half games with two more left in their series with the Athletics. They improve to 10-3 on the season against Philadelphia and have won five straight matchups against them.
Bob Feller (9-10, 3.57 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday for Cleveland. He is 2-1 on the season against the A’s. Lou Brissie (8-6, 4.29) will make his third appearance and second start against Cleveland. He was roughed up for six earned runs in an inning-plus of work in his last outing against them on May 18th.