DiMaggio Slam Too Much for Tribe to Overcome; Yankees 6, Indians 5
Mike B. | On 10, Jan 2016
July 22, 1948
In the old days, a 3-2 lead in the middle of the fifth inning would be all the support Bob Feller would need. The Heater from Van Meter would take over with his blazing fastball in the second half of the game and lead the Tribe to victory.
However, it appears those days are gone. Feller was staked to a lead, but he continues to be unable to avoid untimely and catastrophic home run pitches. Tonight’s crushing clout came at the hands of Joe DiMaggio and his grand slam that led the Yankees to a 6-5 victory in front of 68,258 faithful in the Bronx.
Cleveland tried to muster a rally from down three runs, but could not complete the feat. The Tribe cut it to a run and stranded the tying run on base twice before suffering defeat.
The Tribe jumped on top of the Yankees and starter Vic Raschi in the top of the second inning. Lou Boudreau reached base safely to start the inning when Billy Johnson’s throw from third base was wide. After Joe Gordon popped out to Yogi Berra behind the plate, Ken Keltner singled to left moving Boudreau to second base. Eddie Robinson singled to center field, showing signs of snapping out of his slump, and plating Boudreau for an unearned run. Robinson’s 51st RBI gave the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
Cleveland tacked on another run in the third inning when Larry Doby walked with one out and raced all the way around to score when Boudreau doubled down the left field line. The 2-0 lead was short-lived, as the long ball soon became Feller’s downfall. After Snuffy Stirnweiss singled to right field in the bottom of the third inning, Tommy Henrich homered into the right field seats, tying the game at two.
But the Tribe retook the lead in the fifth inning when Dale Mitchell lined his third home run of the season over the left field fence. Mitchell’s solo shot gave the Indians a 3-2 lead and extended his hitting streak to 20 games.
Feller’s season-long struggles continued the next half inning. After being handed a lead, Feller allowed a lead off single to Stirnweiss and back-to-back walks to Henrich and Charlie Keller to load the bases. With nowhere to put him, Feller grooved a fastball to DiMaggio and he crushed it deep into the left field stands. Joltin’ Joe’s 21st homer of the season gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead.
Feller (9-12) was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth inning, ending his day after just five innings. He allowed six runs on seven hits and four walks, while only striking out three. All six runs strolled home as a product of a home run. Feller has now allowed 17 round trippers this season.
Cleveland rallied right back in the top of the sixth, trailing by three. Boudreau singled to right field and Gordon reached on another error by Johnson to put runners on first and second with no one out. Ken Keltner singled to left field, bringing Boudreau to the plate. After a passed ball moved Gordon to third base and Robinson popped out to third base, Jim Hegan singled to left, cutting the score to just 6-5 in favor of the Yankees.
That would be all Yankees’ manager Bucky Harris needed to see of Raschi on the evening. Harris brought Tommy Byrne in from the bullpen, who struck out pinch-hitter Johnny Berardino and got Mitchell to fly out to left field to end the inning without further scoring. Raschi (11-4) lasted just five and one-third innings, allowing five runs – just three earned – on eight hits, a walk and five strikeouts.
Satchel Paige came on in relief of Feller and shut down the Yankees for the next two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two, including DiMaggio. Cleveland tried to muster rallies in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game. In the seventh, Boudreau tripled to center field with two outs, but Gordon grounded to third base to end the inning. In the eighth inning, Keltner walked to start the inning and pinch-hitter Bob Kennedy singled with two outs to put runners on the corners. However, Mitchell flew out to DiMaggio in center field to end the inning and extinguish the rally.
Ed Klieman worked the bottom of the eighth inning for the Tribe in relief of Paige. Klieman pitched for the seventh straight day, working a three-up, three-down inning.
Cleveland had one last attempt to tie the game, but Byrne again avoided demise. Pinch-hitter Allie Clark reached second when Yankee left fielder Charlie Keller dropped his liner. With just one out, Boudreau popped out to shortstop. Gordon walked to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but Keltner flew out to center field to end the game.
Byrne notched his first save of the season, pitching the final three and two-third innings, allowing just two hits and two walks. He worked out of jams in the last three innings, keeping the Tribe a base hit short in each frame from tying the game.
The Indians’ loss drops them to a slim half game lead over the Philadelphia Athletics, who won 8-7 in 12 innings over St. Louis. Boston remains red hot, winning their second straight doubleheader in Chicago and now trail the top spot by just two games. Despite New York’s win, they’ve dropped to fourth in the standings, but just two and a half games out.
Tomorrow, the Indians and Yankees wrap up their four game series in the Bronx. Cleveland will try to split the series when ace Bob Lemon (13-7, 2.70) takes the mound. New York will counter with Spec Shea (3-9, 3.76), who was scratched from a start yesterday for extra rest.