Crucial Error Gives Washington a Wynn; Senators 3, Indians 2
Mike B. | On 14, Dec 2015
June 25, 1948
It usually is Bob Lemon who is the pitcher that dominates the opponent on the mound, then makes them pay at the plate. Friday night, it was Early Wynn who was the star for the Senators, giving them a 3-2 victory.
Wynn pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs, while accumulating three base hits at the plate and driving in two runs. His two RBI likely would not have been possible without an error from his pitching counterpart, Lemon, to set the stage for his game-winning hit.
Lemon was off to his normal start, shutting out Washington for three innings and only allowing two hits when he staked the Indians to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Ken Keltner was robbed of his 18th home run of the season to start the frame. Gil Coan made a leaping catch at the left field fence to bring the blast back into play as it was clearing the fence for the first out. But, Jim Hegan singled and Lemon doubled to left center field. Hegan was able to rumble all the way home from first base to stake Cleveland to the first lead.
Washington answered right back with a run in the top half of the fourth inning. With one out, Bud Stewart doubled down the left field line. Mickey Vernon bunted for an infield single to put runners on the corners and Stewart was able to hustle home when Junior Wooten’s flare over the infield was caught by Tribe second baseman Joe Gordon. Gordon’s momentum took him away from the plate and his relay throw was not in time. The Nats tied the game at one apiece.
Gordon got his redemption in the bottom of the fifth inning, though, when he hit a solo home run to left field. The blast was his eleventh of the season and traveled deep into the left field seats, giving the Tribe a 2-1 lead.
Cleveland had a chance to add to its lead the next inning, but Larry Doby’s leadoff triple was wasted. Lou Boudreau grounded to shortstop, but with the infield in, he could not advance. Eddie Robinson followed with a fly ball to right field that was too shallow to attempt to score on with Stewart charging in as he made the catch. After Hank Edwards was walked, Gordon scorched a liner right at third baseman Eddie Yost to end the inning.
Lemon appeared to be battling Wynn and succeeding for six innings, though. He’d only allowed the one run and five hits until the top of the seventh inning when Lemon made an error and Wynn took advantage. Al Kozar singled to center field with one out. John Sullivan was looking to bunt Kozar to second base, but when the normally sure-handed Lemon fielded his roller, he fired wide to second base and everyone was safe. Lemon was charged his third error of the season.
Al Evans bunted both runners into scoring position. This time, Lemon threw to first for the second out of the inning, setting up a key at bat against Wynn.
Wynn grounded a slow roller by the mound that Gordon fielded but could not throw to first base in time to get the husky Alabaman barreling down the line. Meanwhile, Kozar and Sullivan hustled around to score two unearned runs on the infield hit and give Washington a 3-2 lead.
It was all Wynn needed to take control of the game on the mound. After the Nats took the lead, he allowed only one hit in the final three innings. Dale Mitchell led off the eighth inning with a single but was quickly erased when Doby hit into a double play.
Doby is back in the lineup and playing center field in place of Thurman Tucker. Tucker still is having issues with his broken finger and will miss a couple of days. He could not grip a bat after playing on Thursday.
The two runs in the seventh were unearned runs, yet Lemon (10-6) had no one but himself to blame since his throwing error set the stage for defeat. He allowed only seven hits and one earned run over nine innings, while walking one and striking out two.
Wynn (7-7) was just a little better, however. He was able to log three of the seven hits Lemon allowed, giving up just six hits himself for the game and two runs while walking one and striking out four. Wynn was able to slow down Boudreau, holding him hitless and snapping his 13-game hitting streak.
The defeat wastes a good opportunity for Cleveland to extend its lead in the standings. The New York Yankees lost 4-2 in Detroit today and remain one and a half games in back of the Tribe, but the Philadelphia Athletics won 4-1 in Chicago today and climbed to just one game back. The loss is now the Tribe’s fourth in their last five games.
Cleveland will try to get back on the winning track tomorrow afternoon when Bob Muncrief (4-1, 2.03) takes the mound for the Tribe at Cleveland Stadium. Sid Hudson (3-6, 5.27), the lanky right-hander, will oppose him for Washington.