Robinson and Boudreau Lead Five Run Rally to Take Game One; Indians 8, Yankees 6
Mike B. | On 12, Jan 2014
August 8, 1948
In front of another record setting crowd of 73,484 Sunday afternoon the Cleveland Indians rose to the occasion with one of their biggest victories of the season.
Trailing by five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tribe rallied to score five runs behind home runs from Eddie Robinson and Johnny Berardino and a key, two-out base hit by the injured Lou Boudreau. Boudreau’s base hit tied the game at six in the five run rally and Robinson’s second homer of the game an inning later gave them an 8-6 come from behind victory.
“I saw Lou eyeing those bats as that rally progressed,” recalled Coach Bill McKechnie. “I knew what he was going to do.”
Boudreau was injured on Thursday in a collision with Washington Senator Gil Coan at second base and has not played since. He has received heat treatment daily since the injury, but has not been able to participate in batting practice or any pregame activities.
Cleveland’s comeback was made in part by a subpar start from Sam Zoldak. The lefty struggled to subdue the Yankees all afternoon, allowing all six runs in just over six innings of work. New York tallied their first run in the top of the first inning when Tommy Henrich and Johnny Lindell hit back-to-back doubles. Lindell’s double plated Henrich and gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland manufactured a run of their own in the bottom of the first off Yankee starter Spec Shea when Dale Mitchell doubled to start the frame, moved to third base when Thurman Tucker flew out to right field and scored on a ground ball to second base by Larry Doby. Doby’s groundout tied the score at one, but it would be the only time the Indians would score before the seventh.
After hanging zeros on the scoreboard in the second and third inning, the Yankees began to get to Zoldak in the fourth. Lindell singled to start the inning and moved to second base on Joe DiMaggio’s ground out to Ken Keltner. Billy Johnson lined a single to left field and Lindell slid in under the tag to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
New York benefitted from an Indians miscue in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Phil Rizzuto singled to left field. Shea bounced out to shortstop on a slow roller, advancing Rizzuto to second base. With two outs, Snuffy Stirnweiss grounded to Berardino who booted the ball into the outfield for an error and allowed Rizzuto to score. Stirnweiss took second base by the time Mitchell got the ball back into the infield. Henrich followed with a single to right field, scoring Stirnweiss and extending the Yankees lead to 4-1. Both runs were unearned on Zoldak’s pitching record.
New York looked to issue the crushing blow in the top of the seventh inning, when Rizzuto singled and advanced to second on Shea’s sacrifice bunt. Stirnweiss singled to center field to bring Rizzuto around and extend the lead to 5-1. Henrich doubled to put two in scoring position and Lindell was intentionally walked to load the bases and end Zoldak’s day. Ed Klieman came in and got DiMaggio to ground out to third base, but Stirnweiss came home to make it 6-1 Bombers after six and a half innings.
Zoldak allowed six runs—just four earned—while giving up 10 hits and a walk, and striking out two.
But suddenly the Indians’ offense came to life against Shea and some dramatics developed. With one out, Keltner walked and advanced to second base when Joe Gordon grounded weakly to third. Berardino helped redeem himself for his error, slapping a home run into the left field seats for a two-run homer. His second homer of the season cut the score to 6-3. Robinson brought the Tribe a run closer when he went back-to-back, sending his homer into the right field seats.
Jim Hegan singled after the back-to-back homers and Yankees manager Bucky Harris removed Shea from the box and brought in lefty reliever Joe Page. Page promptly walked Allie Clark—pinch-hitting for Klieman—and gave up an infield single to Mitchell to load the bases.
With Thurman Tucker ready to leave the on-deck circle, Boudreau came out of the dugout and headed for the plate. When the public address announcer said, “Your attention please. Lou Boudreau—number five—batting for Tucker,” the momentary silence was interrupted with tremendous cheers.
“My shoulder was stiff when I made that first stretch I take to loosen up,” Boudreau said. “But after that I forgot everything but concentrating on that base hit.”
Boudreau ran the count to 2-2 before slapping a single by Rizzuto at shortstop and up the middle, plating two runs and tying the game at six runs apiece. Doby flew out to end the inning, but the game was tied and Boudreau received a resounding cheer as he stiffly trotted back to the dugout. Bob Kennedy replaced him in the field, shifting Doby to right field and Satchel Paige came in to pitch.
Paige worked a three-up, three-down eighth inning before the Indians went back on the attack in the bottom half. Gordon walked with one out, but was quickly picked off, before Berardino walked and Robinson hit a two-out, two-run homer into the right field seats to give the Tribe an 8-6 victory. Robinson’s two homers were his first homers since July 5 against Detroit. Having been hampered by a knee injury, it snapped an 0 for 15 slump.
“Eddie was taking his full cut agains instead of trying to push the ball into left field,” Boudreau said. “He’s a big guy with power and that’s the way he should swing.”
Paige started the ninth inning, but a single to Stirnweiss and balk to second base, forced Boudreau to bring in Russ Christopher for the final out against pinch-hitter Charlie Keller. Keller grounded to second base, ending the game and capping a come-from-behind victory for the Tribe.
Paige (3-1) earned the win in relief for the Tribe, while a Page (3-7) of another spelling took the loss for the Yankees. Christopher earned his 14th save of the season.
Cleveland will look for the twin bill sweep in the nightcap when Steve Gromek (6-7, 3.81) toes the rubber for the Tribe. Right-hander Bob Porterfield makes his major league debut for the Yankees. New York just purchased his contract from the Newark Bears of the International League.