Tribe Survives Late Washington Rally; Indians 2, Senators 1
Mike B. | On 06, Jan 2016
July 18, 1948
Cleveland got back on the winning trail Saturday afternoon, scoring early and then holding off the Senators’ rally in the ninth inning. Gene Bearden logged his eighth victory of the season, scattering nine hits and just one run, as the Indians knocked off the Senators by a 2-1 final.
Dale Mitchell and Jim Hegan each had two hits to pace the Tribe. Hegan’s triple in the fourth drove home their second, and eventually pivotal, run to give the Indians the win. Bearden and Early Wynn battled in a fierce pitcher’s duel for nine innings as each went the distance in a highly contested game.
Cleveland started the scoring in the top of the first inning, when Mitchell reached on an infield single to second base. The infield hit extended Mitchell’s hitting streak to 14 games. Wally Judnich flew out to left field before Hank Edwards walked. With runners on first and second base, Lou Boudreau laced a single to center field bringing Mitchell home and giving the Tribe an early 1-0 advantage. Wynn settled down, getting Joe Gordon and Ken Keltner to fly out to end the inning with a runner in scoring position.
Bearden, meanwhile, was in control early. Through three innings, he allowed just one hit to Al Evans. Evans’ two-out base hit in the second inning resulted in no scoring threat.
The Tribe tallied another run in the top of the fourth inning with a key, two-out base hit by Hegan. Gordon started the inning with a single to center field. After Keltner struck out and Eddie Robinson hit a fly ball to center field, it appeared Wynn would strand the lead off single with little additional threat. However, Hegan laced a triple down the right field line, allowing Gordon to rumble all the way home from first base, giving the Tribe a 2-0 lead.
Cleveland used a fine defensive play in the bottom half of the fourth inning to keep their lead at two runs. Carden Gillenwater hit a one-out double to center field off of Bearden. After Tom McBride popped out to second base, Mark Christman singled to center field but the Tribe center fielder Judnich made a solid throw to the plate to cut down Gillenwater for the final out of the inning. Judnich’s strike to the plate kept the Indians holding a 2-0 advantage.
In the top of the ninth inning, the wig-wammers had a chance to add to their lead, but were unable to find the necessary hit to drive home the run off of Wynn. Keltner and Robinson each singled to left field to start the inning. With runners on first and second base and no one out, Hegan bunted back to Wynn, who was able to force Keltner out at third base for the first out. Wynn, again, got fly balls to kill the rally and keep the score at 2-0. Bearden flew out to left field and Mitchell to center field.
Bearden, on his way to his eighth win, lost the shutout and almost the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Gillenwater walked to start the inning and was quickly erased by McBride’s groundball double play. Just an out from completing the game, Bearden gave up a double to Christman – his third hit of the game – and Evans singled to left field to plate him and cut the score to 2-1. With the tying run on base and winning run at the plate, Boudreau relieved Bearden and called for Russ Christopher.
Washington skipper Joe Kuhel countered the move with pinch-hitter Bud Stewart, hitting for Al Kozar. Christopher got a grounder to second base on the first pitch to end the game and secure the victory. The one pitch by the tall, lanky side-winder gave him his 12th save of the season. Bearden (8-3) earned the win, scattering nine hits and the ninth inning run, while walking one and striking out no one.
Wynn (7-10) was a tough luck loser, scattering nine hits of his own but two runs instead of Bearden’s one. He struck out five and walked two.
The Indians climb to a game and a half lead over the Philadelphia Athletics after the first game of the Sunday twin bill. The Mackmen lost 12-11 in eleven innings to fall another game back of the Tribe.
Bob Feller (9-11, 3.81) will look to help the Tribe to a sweep of the doubleheader in the second game this afternoon. Little left-hander Mickey Haefner (4-8, 3.81) will try to use his soft curveballs to keep the Indians’ bats silent.
Photo: Cleveland Memory Project